Tuesday, June 5, 2018

FRINGE DIET

So last summer, I ate quite well during the Edinburgh Fringe month for about 10 US dollars a day.  In honor of touring season coming up in the Northern Hemisphere, I thought I'd publicize my Fringe Diet. I think many of us have trouble eating well on the road, but if you're in one place for long enough to get to the grocery store, and you need some inspiration, maybe this post is for you. There is a lot of satisfaction in making your own food on the road; it isn't hard, and you feel like a healthy yet frugal rock star while still enjoying the luxury of fresh food.

What follows is simply my grocery list with suggestions for how it all came together. Obviously tailor as you see fit. 

eggs 
yogurt

These were breakfast items. Just good to have around the house. The yogurt stayed at home, as did most of the eggs, but sometimes it's also amazing to hard-boil an egg and bring it with you. Whatta power snack!

Extra-virgin olive oil
A packet of prewashed arugula or spinach
Mini-cucumbers 
sugar snap peas
a bunch of scallions
broccoli and/or brussel sprouts and/or yams
fresh sprouts or sunflower seeds (dried)
cherry tomatoes
pickled beets and/or olives
a few lemons
feta cheese

I always carry a good tupperware container with me—one that closes securely with those plastic locks. Each day I put together a big salad with some combo of the above ingredients. I roasted broccoli, yams and brussel sprouts and had them around to put in the salad. I drizzled the olive oil, feta and squeezed lemon on that salad and then when it was time to take it out and eat it I just shook it vigorously and it was ready to eat!

a few hardy fruits: apples, oranges
grapes
berries
fresh mint leaves

I also had a secondary, smaller tupperware that I brought fruit around with. Because it was summer, it was berries and stone fruit slices and grapes. Mint sprigs were just nice to have with it, refreshing, and a little lemon squeezed on the fruit also makes things nice.

Good bread, like bread you'll be excited about
hummus
brie or another cheese that's not feta
smoked salmon
sliced deli meat like turkey and ham
pre-cooked chicken meat if it's good, or if it's not, get raw chicken thighs and asian marinade and make good chicken at home. 

I also made sandwiches which are naturally great to take around. I toasted the bread first just to make it sturdier. Any of the salad things can go in a sandwich too, of course.

chocolate-coated protein bars that feel like both dessert AND protein
nuts
dried fruits

These I carried around in baggies with the tupperwares. So I felt like I had lots of variety with me at all times, and none of it was that heavy.

And that's how I did it at Edinburgh! Seriously, 10 US dollars a day! Except for the last few days, which descended into an exhausted vortex of beige fried things like chips and doughnuts-fried-in-front-of-your-face.

None of us, perfect. 

Saturday, May 5, 2018

LAST TOUR BEFORE SEMI-RETIREMENT

Today I leave for yet another big long tour. It is similar to another one I started four-and-a-half months ago, and another one I started four months before that. It seems, for the past five years, that I've been taking between two and three two-to-three-month trips a year. I have identical battery chargers with three different countries' plugs. There is currency from five different countries in my change jar. I have spent way too much time overwhelmed by jet-lagged, needlessly-terrified during airplane turbulence, and bereft of my collections of impractical onesies and heavy necklaces. I have spent a large chunk of several years being on tour. I'm retiring.

I'm not retiring. But I have turned down two well-paid international gigs this year already, gigs that would fly me to faraway places and put me up and all that stuff. I have said, enough is enough, for the time being. Def no more overseas work for the foreseeable future.

You know, unless you get an offer you can't refuse. But you can't wait around for those.

It is, of course, bittersweet. I loved touring. I met so many beautiful people, I grew so much as a teacher and a performer. I mean, the shows! All over the dang anglish-speakin' wirrld! And the workshops. The incredible communion with performers from all over the place.

It all really hit me during Edinburgh last summer. About a week and a half into shows, the audiences were applauding right when I came on, like I was famous or at least someone they recognized from their gym. I have no idea how that happened, and I'm sure there's some reasonable explanation for it—but it occurred to me in those moments, this might be the height of your performance career. It may not get any better than this. I killed it at the biggest arts fest in the world, night after night. For me that felt like a big deal.

But then again, my definition of "killing it" at Edinburgh means that I cleared a few thousand dollars and had a lot of great shows and didn't get seriously depressed even once. There's of course further to go. My famous friend always asks me, when I'm about to go on another tour, "Are they paying to fly you first class?" And I have to say no, and remember that, if they were, I probably wouldn't be semi-retiring right now. I'd have a personal chef and an entourage, and I'd never be lonely again hahahaaaa.

But that's a whole other life.

I think in order to get to "the next level" with Butt Kapinski, I would have to first amp up my social media and video content by roughly a gazillion percent, and then, I'd have to put Butt around TV/film-type opportunities. That's just for starters, and who knows, really, if if if if if. There's a lot to do in this world. I have a lot of other plans.

Which is not to say that Butt is dead, not at all. I'm pretty sure I will do Butt Kapinski for the rest of my life. It probably just won't be for month-long runs at faraway festivals.

I mean, you never know... but I've noticed things about myself on tour for the last year or two... I'm not as social as I used to be. Wherever I go, I seem most excited about finding a local pool and a good tupperware to carry salads around in. When I'm not actually working, I spend a lot of time watching "RuPaul's Drag Race" in bed. I make fewer friends each tour; I rarely go dancing; I miss home.

And so, I'm hanging up my golf-club-case and my battery chargers for the foreseeable future.

But I'm definitely going to enjoy this last tour. One month in England, two weeks in Australia. Some long flights, but a lot of opportunities and inspiring artists and good black tea. Each time I've toured, I've seen the progression: the way one's reputation has baked even more into the soil of the tour in front of you, so you feel that the soil is more prepped for your seed than it was the first time you tried to plant it (so to speak). You feel those moments when you headline some lineup show that wouldn't have booked you three years ago. When you hob-knob with someone you used to think was far beyond your coolness level. Those moments when someone wants to gush over how amazing you are, and you know what? You stop them. Because enough people have gushed over you now. That I'm famous feeling is fun, but it's fraught, too. It's fragile. It's like 6am on a spring day, when the air is so fresh and delicate you want to suck it all up through your nose. Actually no it isn't. It's like those Trader Joe's chocolate truffles that you eat ten of the first time you try them, and then the next time you encounter them, you can only eat two, and then you don't want any anymore ever. Your body just sees them and shakes its head.

Did I choose to semi-retire, or did semi-retirement choose me? Who knows? I think every career has its own trajectory and its own momentum and its own path, and everything has to end sometime. Not like it's over, but it could be semi-over. And I'm kinda fine with that. I'm 44, you know what I mean? But it's not just about age. It's about coziness and routine and community, and how increasingly important those are to me now that I've really found them up in my Slightly-More-Urban Twin Peaks, USA. It's the spot from which to go forward with my personal next-step-in-world-domination.

It's a big world; sometimes going further means taking smaller steps.


Friday, February 23, 2018

HOW DID YOU MAKE THAT SHOW?

An awesome workshop participant suggested I put up a blog post about how I came up with my "solo" show Butt Kapinski, so that in moments where somebody asks me that question and I don't have time to have a coffee with them, I can say, at least there's a blog post!

Well, it seemed like a nice idea.
But the truth is, I kinda have no idea how I made my show. Or rather, I have no idea how far back in my life story to go to start the answer to that question. Do you want to hear about the clowning and improv classes I took when I was six? Probably not, right?

I also think there usually are two sub-questions inherent in that question. There's how did you create that character? AND how did you decide to wear a light and make the show interactive/immersive? And, really, when you boil it all down, the question beneath the question is probably actually How can *I* make a show that makes ME feel the way I imagine YOU feel when you're doing your show?

Well, I can try to answer some of that, anyway.

First: Butt Kapinski the character is a very organic distillation of a whole lot of me-stuff: film noir fandom, slight gender dysphoria (misogynistic-societally-induced or organic, who can tell), childhood speech impediments. When the character came out of me, I was not expecting it, but it made absolute sense right away. It immediately felt like the most logical direction I could go in. It was the easy choice. It was obvious. It was and is utterly me.

The wearing-my-own-light concept probably came from going to Burning Man a few times in the early aughts. It blew open a lot of things for me: the artistic aesthetic was three-dimensional, inviting interaction. I saw how spaces could feel electrified, how costumes could blend function and fantasy. And I saw a lot of creative use of light, people wearing lights. Mostly to illuminate themselves, not others. But it did get me thinking.

Then when I started really getting into clown work, I felt hungry to interact with the audience and too limited by the stage lights and, frankly, other clowns. I said to my boyfriend at the time, What I really want is a light that I can wear so I can go anywhere. And he said, That's what you should have, then. And then my dad, who has a degree in electrical engineering, designed it, and my lighting designer friend built it. And so it was born. And the light's creaking sound just developed through use; none of us knew that was going to happen.

All of the material for the show was developed either in performance or in rehearsal with friends acting as audience members. For the first two or so years of doing Butt as a solo thing, I just did 10 minute bits at Variety and Burlesque nights, which gave me a lot of experience with different audiences and some confidence that what I was doing could and should be a longer piece. 

And like I've said before, being a high school English teacher was my best training for clowning, and for doing a full-length solo show. The day-after-day practice of putting together an interactive performance for the classroom, that really did it for me.

So... that's how I made my show.
How should you make your show? Uh... (shuffles feet, looks elsewhere)
Well at the very least, here are four ideas I would throw your way:

1) Slaughter the 10-minute bit first. Like, totally slaughter it. Like, have them hooting and cheering and begging for more. Maybe get your 10 minutes so good that you get paid for it sometimes, or at least, sought after. It's a strong indication, if you have an amazing 10 minutes, that you might be able to have an amazing 20, or 34, or 57. 

2) Think about the experience you want an audience to have. Beyond just sitting there, what can you give them experientially, so that they are able to put a piece of themselves into your show, and be rewarded for having been there. The world already has enough just-sit-there-and-watch-me shows, don't you think? Fourth-wall theater is dying. Make it an event, or make it for Youtube.

3) Assume that you might only have ONE character in you, ever, that anyone will ever love. Why make that assumption? Because I think that makes you realize that you better put everything you got into that character. Don't save shit for that character down the line. Everything you have now, everything you are and ever were, use it now. Make it about you, deeply—where you're from, what makes you tick, what your obsessions and loves are, what gives you pleasure, what you want most of all. And don't forget the shame—shame is probably your most powerful tool for creating a character that people can laugh at and feel catharsis through. I still feel shame every time I perform; I cultivate that shame, because keeping it around, and going forward anyway, makes me brave. But you can't be brave if you aren't sharing something that some part of you would prefer not to share, not to have others laugh at. No matter how good a performer you are, you can't pretend vulnerability. It's either there or not there, and the audience can smell it either way.

4) Consider getting into teaching, if you're not there already—especially teaching students you have to work a bit to win over. Maybe teaching will satisfy your solo-performing needs and then you won't even need to make a show!

Ha ha ha ha ha!



Tuesday, January 2, 2018

SHOULD YOUR COMEDY CLASS BE A SAFE SPACE?

Sooooo, last summer a participant asked me if our workshop was a "safe space," and I told her it wasn't. That was probably a lie.

What does it mean, safe space? This is a big messy subject, and chances are I'm going to get stuff wrong and miss stuff, because there's so many nerve endings that this issue touches, and I know I'm not going to touch them all right. Anyway, we'll go in together.

If we choose to define safe space in the most broad terms, as in, A space in which you will not be bullied, harassed or assaulted, then of course, our workshop is a safe space. And in these times, I'm going to venture a guess that most comedy workshops are.

But that's not what my workshop participant was asking. She wanted to know if our workshop was A wink-nudge SAFE SPACE wink-nudge, which probably means something different, something more along the lines of, A place where intolerance is not tolerated.

That is where things get very sticky, because then how do we define intolerance, how do we define not tolerated, and for that matter, how do we define IS... you see where I'm going here.

The truth is, I haven't had to think very much about this question, due to a very excellent screening process that happens almost independently of anything I'm doing. First of all, I'm a female-coded person (as the kids are saying)—so whoever has signed up for my classes already thinks that a female-coded person might be able to teach them something about comedy. That disqualifies a whole buncha douchebags right there.

Second of all, I'm teaching a class called Naked Comedy. People signing up for such a class are both (A) not freaked out by the idea of nakedness; and (2) already very open to being vulnerable.

That seems to be a potent cocktail in terms of getting ideal people to my class. Who knew? It doesn't appear to be a particularly elaborate screening process, and yet, my classes are full of really awesome people, like, almost without exception— awesome after awesome after awesome. That's just who signs up. Just because of my gender and my class's name.

So what I'm saying is, you can ask me if my class is a safe space, and I can squirm at that idea and get all rabble-rousin' and Del-Closey and bray out, Naw, man, this shit ain't SAFE! We're all punk rock and Not-Safe-Spacey round THESE parts!

But I'm full of it.

I'm playing with a majorly stacked deck (and you should see the stack on this deck! jk).

But, see, there are plenty of other comedy classes. Those classes are called "Generic-Sounding Comedy Training" with teachers' names like CHET and CHAD and CHEVERETT. Those classes might not have the same self-selection in their signups. Are those classes safe spaces? Should they be?

I'm going to venture a guess that, in times like these, most comedy classes are going to strive to have some safety in them. Comedy schools are no doubt doing everything they can to define safe space as Not Inviting Lawsuits.

A variety of people sign up for "Generic-Sounding Comedy Training." Some on the woke-r side, some maybe less so. But the comedy world is generally, as we all know, full of liberals (ed. note: I'm using the Amurkin definition of liberal here, which is synonymous with leftie. But it is fun for us to remember, Amurkins, that liberal elsewhere in the English-speaking world actually means conservative. Whooda thunk?) So while there might be a few non-liberals in our comedy classes, no doubt they will smell the leftie-leaning odors in the room and keep their dumber instincts to themselves. Mostly. Maybe.

Everyone is coming into their comedy class carrying varying amounts of privilege and garbage, both. And how do we create an environment that checks our privilege and garbage, that doesn't perpetuate the same-old same-ol? How do we create the space in which it feels like the master's tools are available to everyone?

I wonder sometimes about the safe spaces that are safe in some ways and unintentionally problematic in others. Comedy is still largely a rich man's game—it's changing, but there it is. Most of the "comedy authorities" out there are, at this point, still privileged men. Do these men know how to cultivate the funny of those different from they? Some do, right? But some...? You've been in those classes, right? Where it felt like the alpha white dudes were the only ones the teacher really "got," because he himself was an alpha white dude, and so, while he really wanted to support, he just didn't have enough of the master's tools to loan out.... And so we all paid our money and did our time, and nodded our thanks, and left the class saying, "Yeah, it was ohhh-kay..." But we felt like we were watching somebody else get to use the fancy hacksaw. And that feels unfortunately familiar.

It's not that the space wasn't safe. It was safe. Nobody got harassed, nobody got abused. But still. It wasn't enough.

Should your comedy class be a safe space? Obviously.
Should your comedy class be a wink-nudge safe space? Yes and no.

Yes, your comedy class's infrastructure and facilitation should be making every effort to privilege the voices of the less-privileged in a way that doesn't single anyone out or make anyone feel weird. That is a mighty difficult balance to strike, but it's a priority. Affirmative action is necessary for our comedic evolution. We need different voices, desperately, right now. If your class can only cultivate the comedy of the privileged, then it might be a Don't-Sue-Me safe space, but it's not a Ultra-Mega-Major-Fluffy-Kitten safe space. And maybe, we're all at a point where Ultra Mega Major Fluffy Kittens are mandatory.

But no, your comedy class should probably not keep you safe from the potential ignorance or unconscious violence of other participants in the class, provided nobody's doing anything on purpose to be an asshole. Our comedy classes are an ideal battleground to meet those monsters. If you feel challenged by somebody else's comedy in a comedy class—whether they're being misogynist, racist, phobic or just dumb—it's an opportunity. And your class environment should provide for and welcome those opportunities. That's why the right facilitator is so important: making sure that the space is held in a way that allows us to all try out and test and fail and explore and confront and see.

Our comedy deserves a cozy environment in which to breed and grow. It is our armor, our great weapon against all the little psychological blows in life, and it can get bigger and tougher the more we use it. It's time to use it. We have the scimitars of resistance, the martial arts of mischief. It is the time to kick comedy ass and wipe the floor with somebody else's ignorance or unconscious violence. That's the only way any of us will truly be safe.

We are here for the soft battle, and we are ready.





Tuesday, November 21, 2017

WHAT'S NEXT FOR YOU?

Sometimes as a working artist, you have a meeting with an Industry Person. This is someone whose job is to buy the work of performing artists. There are plenty of nice ones, so I'm not knocking them per se. Without fail, though, they always ask this question:

"What's next for you?"

They want to know what your next project is, what your next show will be, the next direction for your work. Why do they always ask this? Probably a few reasons. Not being an Industry Person, I have to hazard guesses.

Perhaps one reason is to take the pressure off the work you are currently trying to sell them. Maybe Industry Person feels the truth of things: that selling one's performance work is stressful and it's a buyer's market and that sucks because that's a lot of pressure pressing down on something that just wants to flutter and breathe and be. Maybe the conversation got heavy and the Industry Person likes it light. So they try to focus on the future, hoping it's less confronting to talk about than your current present.

Also, they probably want to know if your next product is something they might want to buy. Either in addition to or instead of what you're currently offering.

Hey, who can blame them? Industry People want what we all want: good working relationships with colleagues. When they find someone who meets the basic requirements for Good Colleague—you answer emails, you can spell, you treat them courteously no matter what's going on in your life—they want to know if they can continue to have a working relationship with you. It's way easier than trying to find someone else who is courteous and can spell. They want the nice option they already know.

The problem is only for us, the artists. Frankly, thinking about our commercial viability, thinking about our work as a series of products, well, it might just kill what we do—kill it dead.

Here's an example I can think of: um, myself! I came up with a good show. It's cheap (solo, with minimal baggage), innovative, and fun. It's led to a lot of touring and performing opportunities all over the place. I did one good one! I win! But of course you never win. The thing is, that might be the only show I've got in me. Seriously. I mean, maybe, at least. I definitely might not have another solo show in me—see every blog post I've ever written about how fricking lonely solo-touring can be. These days I'm focusing more on teaching, exploring local performance opportunities, writing. I've also become way more interested in interactive experience design, escape rooms and games. All of this boils down to me not being able to tell an Industry Person What's Next.

This is what I tend to say: "You know, I still really love doing this character and this show—it still feels really fresh to me, and although I'm interested in a lot of different things, I don't actually know what's next."

Sure, it feels momentarily bad, when you realize that you might not be a viable product, that you may not be an Industry Person's best bet for those long-term relationships, that if you don't have a What's Next, in their eyes, you barely have a What's Now.

But we have to honor where we are, and what the Muses have already given us. We can't get too greedy in this life. We don't have to apply capitalist principles to our art-making, just because other people do. Just because it feels gratifying to our capitalist veins, our capitalist capillaries, to have those moments of capitalist blood beating through the body UNHHHH, SOMEBODY'S PAYING ME MONEY FOR MY ART UNNNHHHHH. Yeah, it's fricking awesome. Does it mean you need to think of yourself as a product farting out products on somebody else's idea of a schedule? Yeah, have fun with that. You see what happened to Season 3 of "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" (and if you haven't seen, for satan's sake DON'T WATCH SEASON 3). You see what happens to every artist who has to crank shit out on the regular. Art does not respond to factory conditions. I mean, neither do people, once we start really going for this train of thought. But seriously.

Maybe it's fine to not know what's next. I'm not saying it's fine, like, you'll still get Industry People to return your emails. Most of the time, I have no idea how to get Industry People to return my emails. They do when they want to, they don't when they don't.


I'm saying it's fine like you're still probably a worthwhile artist, even if you don't have another Insert- Artform-Here all ready to pitch. You've made something valuable that gave you and a lot of other people joy. Once in a while, in your dark nights—with the unknown unfolding in front of you, like a ribbon from a future birthday party for a friend you don't yet know—focus fully on what you've already done, and let it surround you, and just sometimes, let it be enough.  

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

ARE WOMEN "STUPID" ENOUGH ALREADY?

Soooooo back in the olden days, right, there was a King, and there was a Jester. The King was a man, and he was the Establishment, the Power, and all the patriarchal Patriarchy you can shake a patrician pater at. And the Jester was also a man, but he was a little man, relatively speaking. He was not the Power, he was the "fool"—and in the fool we see all the important stuff that makes up clowning: high ridiculousness, physicality, willingness to be the joke, willingness to subvert, mock or at least hold a lil' mirror up to the King so that he can see himself. The fool is Humanity: an embodied reminder that the human experience is about more than Civilization and Hierarchy. It is about the madness and glory of just being alive and going through this ridiculous shit called Life!

All amazing shit, and pretty wrong-headed that it's in the "disempowered" figure that all the truest lessons live. But that's the patriarchy for ya. I'm wondering, though, if maybe I can keep the patriarchy offa my clown for a minute.

I'm going to use the word "clown" in this blog entry, even though I try not to use it in mixed company. We're among friends, right? We'll define "clown" as the comedy realm which is without a fourth wall and rooted in vulnerability. And we'll try to go back to Never Using The Word Clown directly after.

In my clown world, I hear the word "stupid" a lot. Clowns call each other "stupid" as a compliment, a signal that a clown is really in the zone, really being human. I hear myself using it too. It's useful; so much comedy is trying soooo hard to be clever. When you see the opposite of that kind of cerebral comedy—body comedy, heart comedy—maybe you have to call it stupid, just to signify the refreshing contrast.

Nonetheless, "Stupid" or "Idiot" never really felt good to me personally. My particular frequency of clown has never been activated by the idea of being a stupid idiot. If I may speak of "my clown" for a moment, ahem ahem, my clown is brilliant, my clown is a mastermind, my clown has lots of determination, my clown will get it done, my clown cannot get it done because the world, man, but hey, my clown abides.

And I've been wondering about that idea of calling on the clown to be stupid—whether it's really a call from one man to another to be anti-patriarchal, to do the anti-male thing and be vulnerable, and fail, and be loved. But here I've been womaning along my whole life and nobody needed to tell me to do all that, or rather, that's what everyone and everything has told me to do all the time. And so to call my clown stupid might be, essentially, in this fucked-up world, maybe a little fucking redundant.

I get activated by words and phrases like Ferocious! Monster! Killin it! Wipin the floor with it! Destroying it! Slayer! Who's a slayer?! You're a slayer, you big slayer! Triumph! Conquest! Roarrrrr!
Big fierce words make me want to get out there and really go for it. Of course I'm still gonna be vulnerable, that's a given. I'm so vulnerable maybe don't call my clown stupid to my face. Maybe that's some locker room talk, some macho shit, maybe some other clowns need that, and I need something else.

And yet, I get that it totally still makes sense to talk about the clown being stupid or an idiot. If only because you're in comedy class, or comedy circles, and those cultures should be funny, and sure you can say "oh, that clown is so HUMAN, so VULNERABLE", but it's not as funny a thing to say as "That's fucking stupid, amiright. That person's an idiot."


So I'm just asking the question. Answer it as you like.  

Friday, November 3, 2017

WHEN YOUR HEROES ARE HYPOCRITES

My first love was a senior when I was a sophomore, and he was really good at Model U.N. He was already in Early Decision to a good college, and he wooed me with elaborately constructed mix tapes and slyly effusive notes done in cursive and colored pencil, and the kind of banter I had only dreamed about and watched on Moonlighting. He introduced me to Elvis Costello and Woody Allen—I mean, my teenage heroes. He had a girlfriend at another school, which was confusing for me—actually, really shitty and confusing—but he was my first love and I didn't know any better. He would take me out and cuddle me and hold my hand but never more. And after months of this, when I was like, what the eff—he cut it off, sort of, but kinda also led me on for maybe another 5 years. It was a bad first love, frankly—and it was made worse because the music and movies he turned me on to became my music and my movies. So it was hard to get rid of him, without that lingering feeling of gratitude which can sometimes be confused for everlasting love.

Elvis Costello, Woody Allen, David Lynch, Philip Roth, Raymond Chandler... I look at these artists who shaped my voice, who helped me understand my voice, my anger, my funny, my clown, my me, and they're pretty much all woman-hating assholes. I remember reading an interview with Elvis Costello when I was 16: "People look at my lyrics and they think, He's a misogynist. But I love women! Honestly." What could be a more misogynist answer than that? Even then I knew, I guess, but what could I do?

That's what I grew up on, artistically: I grew up sucking on the woman-hating teat of angry white male artists. I grew up forming my artistic anger, my existential rage, coloring in the outlines that they had drawn for me—a world in which, frankly, women suck, and men suck too, but maybe not as much or not as cleverly, not as indelibly. My artistic inspirations flowered in the soil of a white male ecosystem, a white male eye.

And sometimes a moment comes along—when you re-read the interview, or you really see the teacher you've learned so much from, or the man you thought you could trust—suddenly you really see them and they are so small and broken—and you realize, whoa, have I been conditioned to see these guys as mentors and leaders my whole life, has my entire being shaped itself around the worship of these flawed, flawed little boys....

And then #metoo doesn't feel enough, because to say #metoo is to say that it happened to me, when what I feel is that, along with and worse than that, it happened inside me, from age 15 and long before, when the art inside me joined with what I thought was the Divine Truth of the art of all of my influences—their words and music promised liberty to me. My soul thought it married a fellow victim-saint, and it really married a perpetrator. And to see that both that liberty and that sainthood are so tainted, to feel how rotten they are—how rotten I am...

That's the problem. That's the moment when you wonder why you didn't stick with the Indigo Girls and Jeanette Winterson. You wonder what was it inside you that picked the wrong men, in literature, in record stores, in life. Or were there ever any right men to pick? I picked men who echoed my sense of powerlessness and anger and urge for personal freedom, men who all would screwed me over had I known them personally, and the ones whom I did, did.

And in those moments when you see them for what they are, sure, it is a growing time, it is a good time to transform and spend more time listening to Bonnie Raitt and reading Zora Neale Hurston. Sure. But in those moments when you long for your past, for those teenage moments in which you fell in love with music and books and movies, and for that matter, men, you realize that those moments are kinda gone for you. And all the little Harveys inside of you don't have a home anymore, but stagger around, lost, plucking at their little-boy suspenders and wondering whom they matter to anymore.


I think it's probably different now, for other women artists. Or it must be. Soon.