Happy Spring! — Nowrouz Mubarak!
For those of you who have been thrashed around by the waves of winter, do not despair! The shore is near.
This winter, my experience of being in the world has felt like one of a sea lamprey attached to the fin of some great whale. Yes, I get food, great soul-enriching sustenance from doing what I was born to do, but the ride is not an easy one.
I have been dragged down to the unmoving depths of the ocean where the pressure felt like my skull would cave in. From this a single seed emerged! I completely rewrote my latest play, Tree of Seeds.
The reading in London, this past December, brought with it the opportunity connect with theater community outside of NYC, and to hear the words come alive. It also submerged me into the world of this story and forced me to rework it furiously.
Small bubbles of air are rising up from that place and the latest version will have a staged reading at Queens College on May 15th. Rewrites are still coming but the form will be brand new!
Come see it. (Literary agents and producing theaters wanted!) Alternatively, I was being slapped and flapped about on the surface of the sea.
Just when the Afghan radio drama (One Village, A Thousand Voices) I helped create for the U.S. Institute for Peace was getting a little international notice, it was also scrambling for funding and put on hold. We’re back now, temporarily.
Challenges appeared and plans evaporated.
The one thing I could figure out to do in this time was to be around other writers, artists, and social change-makers. In fact, it was a great contradiction to the chaos around me to have a few places to safely land and be myself. I joined a wonderful memoir and autobiographical fiction writing workshop at the Asian American Writer’s Workshop which has inspired me to write some short stories, which might end up as a novel!
I’ve found that writers and artists need to create spaces for themselves (duh!). For me, it isn’t about networking or getting in the right circles but about having a place for my work to grow within a thoughtful and creative community.
Moving away from a competition-based paradigm, working for financial confirmation of my work’s value, to one of camaraderie and closeness confirms the old adage, “another world is possible”.
In fact, the ladder climbing aspect of the work doesn’t even feel as important because my vision isn’t focused on riding a wave of popularity but on the expansive possibilities in building relationships and dreaming with other human beings.
It is not the rumbling ocean but the shore ahead.
This spring, may the waves of chaos bring you in sight of your own safe place, whose fertile terrain you already have the map for.
Kayhandokht (My full given name. It means daughter of the universe.)