from our Correspondent in the South #3 – though she’s in the West, now…

on collaboration, on separation, on the way they work…

Lifeus Interruptus – Jennifer Vuletic

The thing that happens to everyone. But more so than ever in the COVID-19 Epoque. 

So here I am in hotel isolation – splendid isolation –? With hotel issue sheets and towels and soap and tea. Real coffee – in bean form! – sent by a miraculous friend, plus a grinder, plus a French press, plus chocolate, plus a book about angels and a USB containing some cinematic gems. Mingled thoughts and feelings. Separated still from my family and yet conscious of my great good luck – the splendid isolation for which I actually long, so hard to attain, and, simultaneously, the singular frustration in my utter lack of agency. And yet, I can create here, I can record here, I can think here without interruption.  And it’s very strange that this is what I invoked.

It’s a very strange thing to wish for connection and simultaneously to wish for disconnection. I actually think that this is what the writer craves and dreads all the time. The writer wants the space, the isolation, the lack of interruption, and also maybe? Dreads it?

Here I am in the city I don’t feel an affiliation for and yet I feel a connection to; that I am not drawn to however I am frequently drawn by other things, and I am reminded of why I am writing this piece. It’s about articulating that separation, not only from this place but from the world at large, and how my juxtaposition with this place throws that into sharp relief. The blogging/vlogging allows me to unwrap, unpeel the process for myself. When I hit a roadblock – and that is generally a fear of starting – I have to push myself to the point where I actually start, and only then something starts to happen. It’s a recognition that, a bit like acting, if you get in the way, you’re the roadblock. And you just have to proceed as if none of that white noise was happening. You literally have to stick your fingers in your ears and go La La La while you are listening to another kind of music. 

And then your own music starts to manifest. The best moments are those where you’re scrambling through the rubble, trying to form ideas and link themes, and then you suddenly burst through and the water gushes out of the pipe and a bunch of stuff pours out. As if by magic. You will no doubt go back and revise – and actually, this is where I am now, having written multiple “portions” – but there’s something in letting that pipe unblock, the feeling of that release and flow that tells you you’re on the right track. And then the work is about going back and re-structuring those outpourings. But you have to do the unexpurgated, unedited, unjudged outpouring first before you can analyse, edit, reconstruct, trawl through your research, rediscover the bits that are relevant and the bits that don’t create the picture. Nicolazzo‘s direction and notes help me invaluably – he will see what I’ve written, understand what works theatrically, what is mired in history, stuck in the factual, what is actually just research, and that will drive him to the place where he then says, now think about place, think about the things that surround you, the events, the actual retelling of the events, and bring those to life, bring the story into the present. This is what great collaboration means. How lucky am I to have it!

I will put the link to the concluding blog up in a couple of hours.