Shailja Patel. patterned sari border
 About/Press KitWorkMigritudeBlogNews/AwardsCalendar ShopContact Shailja
decorative pattern
         
 

















Be a part of Migritude's journey.
No contribution is too small - or too large. $2 buys coffee for a volunteer. $15 rents a rehearsal studio for an hour. $100 covers 2 hours of lighting / tech / set design. $500 helps fly Shailja to international festivals!!


You can also make a tax-deductible donation by check. Please email shailja@shailja.com for details.
 

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Readings that replenished me today: Three

There is negative perfectionism and positive perfectionism. The negative sort often revolves around the fear of being found inadequate. A positive perfectionism gives best effort, stays with something productive for mastery's sake. Positive perfectionism urges the psyche to learn to do things better; how to write better, speak, paint, eat, relax, worship better, and so on. Positive perfectionism makes certain actions consistently in order to recognize a dream.

Clarissa Pinkola Est├ęs, Women Who Run With The Wolves

(Page 532, if you want to look it up)

Readings that replenished me today: Two

How many seas should we cross in the desert?
How many tablets should we leave behind?
How many prophets should we kill at high noon?
How many nations should we resemble before we become a tribe?
This path - our path - is a tapestry of words.
With it we mend the hem of the aba stretched between our solitude
and the vagrant land sleeping in our saffron dusk.
So let's be an open hand, offering our time to the gods.


Mahmoud Darwish
, The Hoopoe

Readings that replenished me today: One

I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without
love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the
waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the
dancing.
Whisper of running streams, and winter lightning.
The wild thyme unseen and the wild strawberry,
The laughter in the garden, echoed ecstasy
Not lost, but requiring, pointing to the agony
Of death and birth.

You say I am repeating
Something I have said before. I shall say it again.
Shall I say it again? In order to arrive there,
To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not,
You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstacy.
In order to arrive at what you do not know
You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.
In order to possess what you do not possess
You must go by the way of dispossession.
In order to arrive at what you are not
You must go through the way in which you are not.
And what you do not know is the only thing you know
And what you own is what you do not own
And where you are is where you are not.


T.S. Eliot, from East Coker, Four Quartets

22 days: Feeling and doing

Had a long chat with P, one of my dearest friends today. Called her this morning in tears. Said:

Is is burnout, meltdown, me falling apart? I don't know what to do with all this fear and overwhelm.


She told me - bless her - that these are absolutely common feelings at this stage of a project. That it would be abnormal if I wasn't terrified and overwhelmed, 3 weeks from the culmination of a two-year process that represents a gigantic leap in my creative work and career. That there is enormous risk in putting myself out onto the stage this way. And the real potential for failure. But that everything I've done in my life to date has laid the groundwork for this, and that it will be fine. That what I'm feeling right now does not make me less capable of doing what I know I can do.

Thank goddess for friends.

Friday, October 13, 2006

23 days: fear and resistance

Wide awake at 2.07am this morning, heart pounding. Thinking:

I can't do this. It's too much, too overwhelming, too little time, and I don't have the capacity.

Recited the Migritude script to myself, which usually helps to get me back to sleep. Today, it didn't. At 3.55am, I gave in and got up. Worked until 5am, when I was yawning. Went back to sleep until 6am.

A small army of quotes on fear and challenge, jotted on scraps of paper, amassed over the past two years, marches along the outer frame of my loft bed. Samples:

Whatever you are planning, you can't project fear or failure. Whatever you project is what you will achieve.

Wangari Maathai

Nothing scares me, because I'm not worried about failure. You never know until you try. So if you don't try, you've failed.

Maria Sharapova

It's good to do things that scare the shit out of you. I don't want to do anything that doesn't petrify me, even if it's not well-received.
Sandra Bullock

Courage comes from cultivating the habit of refusing to let fear dictate one's actions.
Aung San Suu Kyi

And Wangari Maathai again:

If you don't face a challenge, then nothing really is happening in your life.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

24 and counting

It's way bigger than me now.

The show.


It's all these moving parts: soundscape, lighting design, choreography, visuals, staging. It's all these people: at latest count, nine collaborators. I've gone from being a solo poet to being the CEO of a production.

I didn't even notice it was happening; each new dimension just seemed to unfold organically.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

25 days to go

to the World Premiere of Migritude.

My director is sick, has lost her voice, and cancelled rehearsal today.

I've been fighting off a cold and cough for days, right through my sister Sneha's wedding. They blossomed into full blown flu on Monday night. I called Jan, my homeopath friend, yesterday morning, and she prescribed Gelsenium. It stopped the coughing almost immediately, but I was hit by wave on wave of extreme tiredness. I made it to La Pena to rehearse with Parijat, but struggled so hard to keep my eyelids up, even while I was moving, that I called it a day after 2.5 hours.

This is not what I'd expected at this stage. I'd planned to be in peak condition by now, powering down the home stretch towards the finish line.
 
         
Shailja Patel. patterned sari border
©Shailja Patel