Once there was a man who was traveling through the jungle in Africa, with a team of local men that he had hired to carry his purchases from local markets back to the boat. It was a few days walk, and the man was keen to catch the boat. He urged the men to move faster and faster with each passing day. One day, after moving at a terrific speed, the entire team of men sat down and refused to move. No amount of urging, encouraging, threatening or harassment could get them to move. Finally he approached the manager of the team, and said he would pay extra if the men would just get up and begin moving. But the manager was in agreement with the men, that they could not move yet.
“Why?” asked the man, thinking only of his boat and his needs.
“Because they are waiting for their souls to catch up”.
It is day six after tour, and my soul is finally entering my body again. I have bent and twisted my shape between continents and time zones, from friends to strangers, and new venues to old haunts. I’ve gone from Virginia to Indianapolis, from Tennessee to Providence and Minneapolis. Sitting still, like those men in the story above, I rejoice at reintegration.
It’s beginning to disappear, this tour, like a dream you wake from and struggle to hold onto. So let me capture a tiny bit of it before it goes. Tour is a wonderfully strange nonplace. It does not exist. It’s a bit like being at an airport. There is no geography to it.
I am a thousand meetings with new people and twenty venues. I am my last story, and my next one. I am the space between phonecalls home. I am a stereotype and a strange occurrence. I am three hundred new conversations. I am different water and bread in every place. I am new keys and new tricks to using the shower. I am deep Autumn, then late Summer, then late Autumn again. I am a projection and a tired reality. I am a voice and a thousand pairs of ears.
My tour highlights are pinpricks of light amid a wash of flights and cars, strange beds and a thousand new negotiations:
-Millie, a six year old girl coming to wish me luck before a performance with a handful of chocolate. -Speaking with Jay, a Native American man after UniVerse as he explained to me the importance of turtles in his culture, and why art and science needs each other.
-The twenty minutes after King of Lies where I was given a Giving Key by Sheila, and learned of a man’s son who had gone to Syria.
-Participating in the baptism of Bill Harley’s barn through song and story and community; seeing what community really feels like.
-Improvising a story with fellow performers Bil Lepp and Antonio Sacre on stage at the National Festival.
-A new show every night for three nights at Open Eye Theatre, Minneapolis with my best beloveds Dovie Thomason, Bill Harley and Kevin Kling; fresh alchemy and chance.
Looking at that I see that my highlights are things I did not expect or plan for. Tour is where you set your best plans in place and then throw everything in the air and hope it all works.
Now I’m back. Let the great wild rumpus that is my life here in London begin.