I’m on the morning of the last of my performances of the revival of 69Stories. Interestingly, this revival is a format somewhat different than previous iterations. More interactive. More real-time. Riskier-feeling for me, but it seems to work well.
The riskiness I experience is this: when I tell the stories, a part of me is there. I don’t mean that in some kinda actingy way. I mean I rewind to how that felt, and pick up where that left off. I have the capacity to do total physical and emotional recall, and this is a lot cooler and a lot more fucked-up than it sounds.
Especially when you’re recalling something that you…want. And won’t ever have again.
I don’t mean this in some kinda sad-sack, bust out weeping violins way, I mean it in a grounded, realistic fashion. No experience is cell-for-cell repeatable.
For better and for worse.
When I tell the story of the first time I understood that submission wasn’t about brute force, that you could get there just from the whispered words of the right person? I won’t ever have precisely that experience again. But I can stand there, night after night, and replay that braintape. Down to what my feet felt like. Down to the light sheen of sweat on the small of my back. Down to the inexplicable (well, not really but at the time, sure.) arousal and physical manifestation of the same that I experiences, making me slippery and dazed for a long, long time afterward.
You’d think this is kind of cool, and it is. Don’t get me wrong. But there is a price to be paid, and when you unpack that shit, it sometimes doesn’t want to go back into the place you packed it. It comes out, stretches, yawns, looks you in the eye grinning toothily and says
OK, you invoked me. Here we are. How do I look to you now? Have I changed in the years since we danced in chronological “realtime?” Have you distorted me? AM I really real? Slippery mercurial memory…catch me if you can, baby…
I’ve been doing some unpacking and I can’t pretend it does not have resonance outside of a couple of hours onstage, because it does.
When I share about the events, people, sights and sounds that all add up to who I am today, and I have to look at it, objectively even, I feel an odd affection and detachment. My life = entertainment and What The Fuck is THAT about?
I know it isn’t ONLY that. I know I am not only here to amuse and sing and dance.
At least I think I know that.
Sometimes I wonder, though. Is it REALLY better to have loved and lost than to never have loved? Because if you have never had that crazy-ass roller-coaster ride, you can’t know how it is, right? And then you won’t know how brutal the landing can be. And then you won’t have to see how the taproots into your id won’t ever ever be fully excisable.
Maybe that blissful ignorance at which I sneer, which I reject in favor of the beauty of The Experience, in fact carries its own intrinsic value?
Maybe. Maybe…but there is no story in that. And above all, I am here to tell. To tell on and about myself.
To tell stories…to be the kinky griotte for those whose stories are rarely told.
SO yeah, it is better. And worse. And I’ll take it, thank you.