I'm in the process of making a piece that is super personal and it's absolutely terrifying. I've never done this before.
Well, ok, wait. Let's back up here. Timing and Stain was personal. And, I've been developing an autobiographical performance about religion for the last three years (it still has another year or so in the oven... wait for it...). But! Neither of those projects come anywhere near the level of terror experienced while creating work about love. Not just love, but, like, Love. A specific love. A love where my fingers calmly slipped from the doorknob. Shut? Swinging wide? Do I mind the draft? Which room am I in anyhow?
It's film, for one. This thing.
There's an incredible pressure that comes with film, like-- every movement is crucial in its specificity, every visual and sound and expression in each tenth of a second is a scene in the narrative of just a few minutes. Does it add up to anything? God, I hope so.
Also-- it's permanent. This little film will always be this little film. It will always be exactly what it was the moment the camera came on and focused and I said, "Ok, Ava, let's go!" and I breathe, and move, or don't. The words. Can I say it? Can I say that? Can I even write? I just said that.
Here's a pro tip: when you feel like maybe you forgot how to say things, like maybe everything you write is cliche or dumb or hella TMI, like maybe writing about Love is like OH GOD NO ONE WANTS THIS, DO I EVEN WANT THIS? or, am I qualified? Or, what if I regret this? Or, what if the subject thinks I'm crazy? To that I say: find your college literary magazine where a few of your poems were once published and read them and realize, with a very strange feeling in your belly, that the poems weren't bad! And that maybe, if at 18 you could say things that were ok and semi-insightful about the world, then at 26 you're sure as hell gonna be ok.
And if your poems did not end up in the college literary magazine... blame it on the editor (what a jerk!) and my pro tip does not apply and I'm so sorry and please keep creating things.
I will say, with confidence, that my "gut" feeling... she's strong as hell. And accurate. And often there is this fine layer of fear that likes to settle on top of the important gut feeling. So when I encounter the fear layer, I know that a crucial insight is nearby. Do I feel like I'm going to vomit the minute the lights go down, or the minute I press play? Awesome!
And yeah, I know, potential vomiting is pretty immature criteria for personal artistic integrity, but right now it's working pretty effectively.