Who Gets Invited?

I am trying to invite as many folks as I can.

With this there are so many questions and challenges that come up for me including:

  • Where do I draw the line in terms of flyer-ing? Where’s the cut off geographically? (Why do those on the other side of 1st avenue seem so far away??!!!)
  • Are those from other parts of town allowed, or from other cities?
  • What will people think if there are “outsiders” there?
  • Getting flyers to the basement suites is challenging as they’re often hidden around the back. I’m not sure which are suites and which are simply doors.
  • It is slightly more challenging to approach people that look different than me or appear more resource rich or less resource rich.
  • It’s logistically difficult for me to invite those who speak a different language than me.
  • It’s slightly more dangerous for me to get flyers to people who have dogs. (I have been empathizing with the mailpeople.)
  • It’s harder for me to involve or invite people that work differently than I do and have different values.

Who gets invited? Perhaps the more effort it takes for me to invite people, the more important it is that they’re invited?

This is a reminder to myself. I am not on this planet to feel comfortable.

Scared!!!!!! and Albert Einstein

IMG_1111Above is a picture of my neighbour Johnny. He runs Hot Top Chimney (www.hottopchimney.com). He is a roofer and a chimney sweep who runs most of his business on a bicycle. He promises to do a headstand on a rooftop at the party, and play his trumpet. We had a wonderful time brainstorming today.

This was the first time he was in my house.

Why? Well…

I guess first off because not everyone in the world comes to your house.

Secondly, in part, because I am often scared to meet people.

Especially it is a little extra scary with neighbours because they will always be around.

It’s scary for me to let them in.

When writing scary I almost always accidentally write scarry.

Which makes sense because we’re often scared when we’ve been scarred (metaphorically speaking), or somehow learned that the world isn’t a friendly place.

Doing this project I have to meet people, and I have a reason to. I am so thankful.

Albert Einstein (I like to drop the big names), says this:

“I think the most important question facing humanity is, ‘Is the universe a friendly place?’ This is the first and most basic question all people must answer for themselves.

For if we decide that the universe is an unfriendly place, then we will use our technology, our scientific discoveries and our natural resources to achieve safety and power by creating bigger walls to keep out the unfriendliness and bigger weapons to destroy all that which is unfriendly and I believe that we are getting to a place where technology is powerful enough that we may either completely isolate or destroy ourselves as well in this process.
If we decide that the universe is neither friendly nor unfriendly and that God is essentially ‘playing dice with the universe’, then we are simply victims to the random toss of the dice and our lives have no real purpose or meaning.
“But if we decide that the universe is a friendly place, then we will use our technology, our scientific discoveries and our natural resources to create tools and models for understanding that universe. Because power and safety will come through understanding its workings and its motives.”

Come next Wednesday and meet some people!

Lost & Found

We went to a potluck at the park with a bunch of  paper socks, some scissors and some felts.

It was put on by provibers, who are fantastic.

I, as usual, was scared at the idea of engaging with people. And scared that nothing would “work,” whatever that means.

It was simple. My friend Sylvie, the illustrator, helped (so so so helpful to not be by oneself).

People drew/wrote something they’ve lost on one side and something they’ve found on the other side.

Kids coloured the socks.

It was great to hear stories and meet people and air out our laundry.

Toast: how one woman built community and why

This story blows my mind. It’s the story of a woman who needed to be known and recognized in society in order to live with her mental illness, in order to recognize herself. Read the article here: http://www.psmag.com/health-and-behavior/toast-story-latest-artisanal-food-craze-72676

“I’m wearing the same outfit every day,” Carrelli says. “I take the same routes. I own Trouble Coffee so that people recognize my face—so they can help me.”

And how courageous do we have to be to put our faces out there.

I know from handing out flyers to this event that even that, which, on a vulnerability scale rates pretty low, is mildly terrifying for me.

“In a city whose economy is increasingly built on digital social networks—but where simple eye contact is at a premium—Giulietta Carrelli’s latticework of small connections is old-fashioned and analog. It is built not for self-presentation, but for self-preservation.”

Though my life is very different than Giulietta’s, I can relate to this idea of connections being built out of self-preservation rather than self-presentation. In a society that values independence, this type of “putting oneself out there” is not always encouraged. The longer I live the more I realize how much I need people, a concept that is unfortunately often quickly connected to being “needy.” I recognize how having people around, or knowing that people could be around, calms my entire nervous system.

The Missing Sock

I think missing socks may end up in the same place as bobby pins. I’m convinced there’s an entire planet populated by these two things along with puzzle pieces, mittens and umbrellas.

The other Golden Missing-Sock Rule is that as soon as you decide to finally throw one out, you find the matching one.

We are creating a clothesline of all the missing socks in our neighbourhood.

What have you lost?

What have you found?

(This can be as literal or metaphysical as you’d like it to be.)

We’d love to know.

We’d love to air out all our missing socks in the back alley.

Stay tuned for ways to get involved with your own missing sock.

We’ll definitely plan to see you June 14th, Italian Day, on The Drive.

Heard & Seen

Turning hearing and seeing into action is something that the community of Strathcona did in the face of horrible violence in their community. http://www.vancourier.com/opinion/strathcona-demonstrates-importance-of-community-1.1808639 People responded in the moment of the assault when they heard a woman’s screams, people responded financially, and people showed up for a march in solidarity with the woman (among other things). I’ve never heard of something like this at this scale. They chose to hear & see.

“No One Saw Anything”

Starting to consider the show I came across this article by Naomi Klein:

No One Saw Anything: Bella and the “Heart and Soul of Community”

The article is written beautifully and thought provoking and the title sticks with me.

“Because building community isn’t just about outdoor yoga and farmers’ markets.
It’s also about coming together to do the things that will allow us to look each another in the eye.
That means means helping each other to heal, so that we can all heal this land.
It means honouring women and honouring treaties.
And it means joining together to demand justice for the crimes that haunt this country.”

What do I/we see and choose not to see?

What is it I/we allow to be seen and what’s not allowed to be seen?

I think of friends in their houses struggling with heaviness, panic, children, & abusive jobs. I think of the systemic turning of the head that happens around “honouring women and honouring treaties.” I think of the fear that leads to the quick averting of the eyes as we walk down our streets.

And I imagine what will happen when we choose to see more.

The Crew

So I had to call together a crew for this show.

That is so scary to do.

And they said yes.

And they have so many ideas.

And now we’re playing together.

And drinking together.

And talking together.

And bumping against each other.

And it’s weird, and good, for someone that works alone a good deal of the time.

The Divides

In Seuss’ story about the Star Bellied Sneetches the Sneetches are divided between those that have stars on their bellies and those that do not.

Eventually a very economically savvy capitalist comes into town and begins to sell stars to the star-less.

This results in the original Star-Bellied Sneetches having their stars removed followed by the newly starred Star-Bellies have their stars removed too.

And the cycle continues; the search for belonging.

Until one day, having spent all their money, they realize the futility of it all and stop, and be friends, or at the very least neighbours.

Spaghetti hair

While in Holland this past summer I was welcomed into the home of couple who creates theatre. Seeing photographs of what they did prior to meeting them is what initially inspired this piece. Saying they “make theatre” is an understatement. For decades they travelled around the world making spectacular, site-specific pieces with their group, DOGtroep. Now they create spectacles in the neighbourhoods in their own country with the people that live there. Their work includes hair made of spaghetti and flooding the ground underneath the audience, along with fire, wind and more water. It is large and magnificent. Music is always part of it. Thanks for the welcome and the inspiration, Septimia and Jos Start your YouTube search on DOGtroep here.