and the delicious worm too

a rawlings, Shira E, Betsy Turcot and Eleanor Jackson at Poets House, NY

Recently, although you and yours may very well have missed it, Betsy Turcot and I headed to New York (ostensibly for travel, but pleasurably for poetry too) and shared both She Stole My Every Rock and Roll and Chosen Family with new audiences.

We were delighted to be able to combine with Cheryl Boyce-Taylor, Shira E and a rawlings as a part of those events at two iconic venues, Bluestockings and Poets House.

Now that the dust has settled (just) enough to take stock, I can honestly say that the experiences were incredibly rewarding and heart swelling and that I am grateful for the collaboration with these writers, especially Betsy Turcot, my fellow Belle of Hell.

I love also the same/difference of perspective as performers and collaborators, as I read Betsy’s reflections on the two events. I can only concur that things were surreal, and I can also savour the delightful separation that occurs when you share something with someone else and know all the same that you are experiencing something completely unique. We’re all seeing the world as we are, not as it is.

Both She Stole and Chosen Family were written at particular points in my life, points where I sought to share that trajectory with another writer, namely Betsy. The differences in our standpoints, our experiences and our writing processes are clear and yet I have found a lovely communality to the experience of being alive and experiencing love, being a part of a family and seeing the world through writing as a part of that collaboration. While Bluestockings was filled with beautiful strangers and friends, and Chosen Family was more select in its “one degree of separation” collection of audience, both events have given me stores of thoughts to mull over about what next, where to, how come, what for.

Overwhelmingly, I want to say thank you, to Betsy, to the venues for supporting us, for the other writers who brought their energy and intention to the two events, to Sarah Wood of Course for her talents and designs, for Thomas Day for his relentless support and kind intention, for all the friends who did not think it was a very silly idea and then gave even better ones to bring something from the seemingly infinite place of impossibility to the realm of utter inevitability.

No one makes beauty alone; it was overwhelming to make it with so many.

At the moment, the “what for” is Shave and a Haircut, another collaboration with Betsy Turcot that, this time around, is going to be considering the idea of masculinity and manhood, wondering How To Be A Man in Just 30 Days. Because that’s about how long we have to write this, and pressure is a new change we want to bring to our writing together. Pressure, hard thinking, open questions, ambivalent answers. Sometimes we’ve written over months, sometimes over moments, but always with energy and commitment.  I hope you can join us at the Anywhere Theatre Festival come May.

Eleanor Jackson at Betsy Turcot at Bluestockings
Eleanor Jackson and Betsy Turcot at Bluestockings for Different Different But Same

By Eleanor Jackson

Eleanor Jackson is a Filipino Australian poet, performer, arts producer, cyclist, writer, gal about town, feminist, freewheeler, and friend.

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