Feb. 10, 2013

The crew of ‘Of Limb & Language’ travels to Earthdance today, to the E|MERGE residency, for two weeks of retreat. In the TSA line at SFO, my elation and gratitude is mixed with apprehension. Distance affords politeness: how will we survive two weeks of non-stop abstract somatic investigation into the production of meaning and the nature of language?

In the cramped gangway leading to the plane, Rosemary reminds us that it’s the Chinese New Year. In Beijing, she heard, they’ve cancelled many of the fireworks because pollution is already so bad the air just can’t take any more particulate matter. Fireworks at the New Year are intended to ward off demons. So this will be a year of demons. I tell her that reminds me of Milarepa’s battle with the demons in his cave, demons that only leave when he finally gives up and invites them to stay, offers them tea and cakes, puts his head in their mouths.  We smile, half gratitude for the Buddhist parable, half awkwardness at the scent of cultural appropriation starting to waft in.

Sitting in the middle seat of row 16 of the Southwest flight to Denver, I cheesily resolve to let it be the year of inviting my demons for tea.  Yea, for verily I do declare: if averting my attention from the uncomfortable, embarrassing, unethical parts of my life is keeping me from understanding it, I wish to be uncomfortable, embarrassed and ashamed. I want to see as clearly as possible, even if it means facing the absurdity, the blatant wastefulness, of 5 artists flying clear across the country, jet-fuel particulates vomiting out over the Rockies, to do pretty much exactly what we do in San Francisco.

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