Saturday, October 22, 2011

words and not words.

I woke up this morning without a voice. Periodically in the past six months I've woken up with some sort of extreme-seeming ailment or temporary disability. (The first being the 24 hours of blindness in July, followed by a crazy crook in my next in August, September was good... and now today.) It consistently offers the occasion to remember a quote/saying I heard a lot growing up. Maybe someone famous said it. Maybe my mom made it up. Either way, it's a great one:
Now, it's not the easiest to swallow when you're in the first throes of suffering or what-have-you (it is very hard to swallow today period)... but over time it really resonates for me.
I have barely spoken at all today and it was sort of amazing. I found myself listening much more deeply. And then when the other person stopped talking, instead of jumping in, I would just sort of nod, and try to express something with my eyes (I've heard Mary-Louise Parker calls this "face-acting"-- I'm gonna go with 'making faces' though), and we'd stand in silence for a lot longer than normal. And I LOVE silence.
I know one woman who really does not appreciate silence and it drives me crazy. She is a very loud talker, very redundant, usually sees herself as the victim, and will repeat her gripes about humanity and/or whatever health problem she's facing at the moment until the cows come home. And the cows like silence too so they are never going to come home in this state.
I have also seen a lot of performance in the past five days. Wednesday was SAVAGE IN LIMBO at NYU directed by the brilliant and genius Stella, Thursday was NIGHTLANDS at HERE by my old college classmate Sally, not Sylvan Oswald, Friday was STOP THE VIRGENS, and today was SONS OF THE PROPHET at the Roundabout and a dance performance at Invisible Dog. Today was the best but maybe that is only because I COULDN'T speak about it or dilute the experience with the chit-chat with people afterwards and so on.
I loved the non-textual moments in SONS so much and was so happy to be reminded how powerful really specific physical movement can be (in the dances tonight). Annie-B Parson's piece was gorgeous, accessible, sharp, and full of her wildly charming and subtle sense of humor. NTUSA and Witness Relocation's pieces were magical and sophisticated too. There were four pieces total and the second one (by Miguel Gutierrez) was very performance-arty. I saw a full-figured woman shake and shimmy in a way I have never seen before. And I've seen a lot of things!!
My mind went places and I shared all of these experiences with rooms full of strangers and here I am now to tell you.
Also, it's fun to have no voice because people alternately
1) whisper back at you
2) lean in very close.
I like both of these things.

1 comment:

Meg said...

Kurt Hahn, founder of Outward Bound, said "Your disability is your opportunity." Thanks for reminder on silence. A very clear kind of silence is kept at various monasteries I've frequented over the years. The Episcopal Benedictine one in West Park, NY, has excellent silence.