Sensibilities 2.1: What's going to happen?
We're back! Ten months from today, the 2nd annual Puget Sound Workshop Workshop will be convening -- and what better to celebrate than a new installment (of a new year!) of Sensibilities? As always, we wanted to compile some of the far-ranging resources, ideas, and inspirations that have been bouncing around in our heads lately, in the hopes that they pique your interest, jumpstart your creativity, or simply add a little intrigue to your day. Happy exploring!
1 is The Terrors & Occasional Virtues of Not Knowing What You’re Doing, Jad Abumrad's account of how what became Radiolab began:
"ME: So, what do you remember about the beginning?
MIKEL: What do you mean? Like how we got it on the air?
ME: Well, about…about…like if you step back from the particulars and you think broadly about that time. What sticks in your mind the most?
MIKEL: Gut churn.
ME: Gut churn.
MIKEL: Like years and years of being sick to my stomach.
ME: Yeah, yeah. Totally.
(Note from Jad: Early on, Mikel barely had enough money in his budget to pay me. There were times when he couldn’t. And he was often told to pull the plug.)
MIKEL: I remember sitting at my desk for long stretches of time just kind of rubbing my head. And pushing on my temples, because it, my head just hurt.
MIKEL: Because I couldn’t find a way to describe what we were doing with it in a way that anybody could call sort of rational or linear. And I, I really love the creative experience and I wanted to create as much room for you for that as possible. But I knew that someday, somebody was gonna ask us what was going on? What’s the long-term plan for this and how are we gonna pay for it? And it was a long time before we were able to answer those questions. So, in that big in-between space was where all that gut churn was, cause you just had to sit with it."
2 is the bold brightness & bright boldness of Susan O'Malley's Community Advice project:
"I wanted to create this project because I think it’s easy to forget how wise we can be. We resist our internal wisdom because of fear, fatigue, inconvenience or any number of reasons. Also, I like to hear other people’s advice. It reminds me that we are different versions of each other trying to make our way through this life. [...] My hope is that these community-authored public service announcements will reflect back – even if momentarily – our inner brilliance and perhaps allow a brief space to gently listen to our own advice."
more of Susan's work | a piece about her that is one part obituary, one part retrospective, all heart
3 is these wise words about the power of embracing the moment-to-moment from multidisciplinary performance artist Taylor Mac:
"'What’s gonna happen?'
"That’s what my friend, actor Steven Skybell, says in the dressing room before each performance; to calm himself. “What’s gonna happen?” No matter how many times you’ve gone on stage, the nerves. So you say, to steel the nerves, and lighten the mood, “What’s gonna happen?” It’s an acknowledgment of anxiety; of the elephant in the room. Everything could go wrong. Just voicing the possibility of that would sooth Steven. And me. I’ve made it part of my ritual now. It takes what’s building up on the inside and makes it tangible because when voiced, it vibrates. It makes the world responsible for it. You get to share the fear. Celebrate it even. It’s a little witchy spell. If I acknowledge everything might go wrong, perhaps nothing will. If I acknowledge everything could be a delightful surprise, it might all be. What’s gonna happen? It makes you feel better. I promise."
full text | more about Taylor Mac
4 is this performance by singer and activist Karim Sulayman from last winter, where he stood in front of Trump Tower with a hand-written sign:
"Hello, my name is Karim and I am Arab-American. Like many people who are black, brown, women, LGBTQIA, Latinix, Muslim, Jewish, immigrants and Other, I am very scared. We are anxious and uneasy in our own country and it's difficult to see what lies ahead for us. But, I have hope that I am safe with you. Together, we can build a community of caring, rather than one of fear. You can trust me to care for you no matter who you are, what you look like, or where you are from. Will you embrace me as willingly as I embrace you? Will you shake my hand and/or hug me and/or take a photo with me and post it as a sign that I am safe here with you? I trust you."
5 is Evelyn From the Internets' (hilarious, wonderful) meditation on how there are so many more things for life to be than a race:
(and the sequel!)
6 is Briar Bates' Ankle Deep, an infectiously joyous water ballet memorial, conceived and directed by the artist for her friends to perform in a Seattle park wading pool after her death:
“'Ankle Deep' was unusual by current death-ritual standards but, [Briar's friend Carey] Christie said: 'It was Briar’s gift to us. It was like her saying, ‘I want to spend time with you, but I don’t want I’m-sad-you’re-dying to be at the top of the list.’ When Briar woke up this time last year, she didn’t look in the mirror and think: ‘I only have a year left to live.’ Most of us don’t think that. Well, stop postponing joy. Cut that out. Have a great time. Be involved. Be engaged — appreciate your beautiful, awesome body that isn’t failing you.'”
-- the Seattle Times