Year-end report

Hello, Internet! It’s Saturday, January 30, and 2015 ended… about a month ago… so here’s my status on all the things I said I’d do. For reference, here are the goals, and quarterly reports 1, 2, and 3.

1. Make sure DanceNL gets a new strategic plan.


THIS TOTALLY HAPPENED! You can download it here if you’re truly interested, but it happened and I’m excited about it and I’m approaching funders to be all “look at our plans! LOOK AT THEM! AND ALSO HELP!” (which is basically what administrators in the not-for-profit sector do, I’m learning.)

2. Run a project pairing up folklorists with seniors and have them all talk about games.

3. Perform in Jesus Christ Superstar.

4. Organize the heck out of Dance Week 2015.

5. Visit the Galapagos Islands.

6. Hike the Inca Trail.

7. Visit the Amazon Rainforest.

8. Write the first draft of a new one-woman show.

Yeah… let’s come back to #8 a bit later.

9. Continue the quest for a passable red curry recipe.

Status: SUCCESS but still room for improvement.

I have discovered a recipe! It is here and it makes pretty good red thai curry paste, even when you have to use dried lemongrass instead of fresh and black pepper instead of white pepper and you have to omit shrimp paste (or “Thai golden mountain sauce,” of which I had never heard before this experience). And then you cook it with whatever you’re currying and throw in some coconut milk and voila! Red Thai Curry!

Turns out that what was holding me back was that many of the popular red curry ingredients CAN’T BE FOUND at your average every day grocery store… and certainly not fresh. Ask an amateur Newfoundland foodie to go out and buy fresh Kaffir lime leaves and they (I) will just laugh at you. Fresh lime leaves… are you kidding? Do you even KNOW what a fresh bell pepper costs here in the winter?

I am also declaring this a success despite the fact that neither chili powder nor tomato paste or from-scratch ingredients. I suppose I could *make* these things… but eff that. Seriously… eff it.

Major credit for the achievement here lies with my excellent roommate of yore, Mara, who arrived at my house with dried lemongrass, soy sauce, ground coriander and a food processor. Without her, this success would not have been possible.

10. Hang my f*cking art on my f*cking walls.

Status: as good as it’s going to get until I stumble across a few hundred dollars for custom framing.

Some art is on the walls. Our walls are not artless. There is a ways to go, but, art is an ongoing process, isn’t it? Like the constant reorganization of bookshelves? You hang, and then you consider, and then you re-hang, and it’s all good.

11. Work towards a school tour for Give Me Back

Status: Work towards it? 100%

Give Me Back, touring Newfoundland and Labrador in March 2016. More details soon.

12. Go skiing.

13. Enjoy food with people I love.

Status: Absolute success! (see #9… and also, probably 2 or 3 times a week)

2015 will go down in history as The Year A Person With A Medical Degree Told Me I Was No Longer Allergic To Milk. My life will never be the same again. Nor my waistline. But cheese. Oh my goodness, you guys were not kidding for those 30 years when you told me that cheese was awesome.

14. Read books.

What have I read since October… Oh RIGHT. Diana Gabaldon’s latest instalment in the Outlander series, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood. I read that… forever. Forever and ever. It’s >800 pages long… I finished it over Christmas and I’m still experiencing book grief about it.

So, in 2015, that was… (excuse me while I use my own blog to count)… 8 books. And parts of 3 more. But 2 of the books I finished were giant tomes, so I think that counts for something.

2016 is off to a pretty great start with Patrick Warner’s second novel, One Hit Wonders. In addition to being a local author who I see regularly at readings in town, Mr. Warner’s first novel, doubletalk, was a stand-out read for me a few years ago. So I got One Hit Wonders for Christmas (hint: if you ever want to get me a gift but you don’t know what… local lit is a solid choice) and I dove into it straight away (of course, “diving in,” in my regular life, means “read for about 60 minutes/week on the treadmill and sometimes before bed, but still). I’m almost done and I STILL don’t know what happened at the beginning, and I love it.

Also, a friend has loaned me a graphic novel called Nimona. It’ll be my first graphic novel, so I’ll keep you guys posted on that.

15. Tell stories.

I’m pretty sure that almost everything I do involves telling stories. I mean, the stuff I adore doing is all storytelling: writing, theatre, music… storytelling. But also, a lot of the stuff I do because they pay me – like grant-writing – is storytelling, too.

“Once upon a time, there was a little arts organization, and it wanted to change the world. So…”

So I’m going to call this a success as well.

Which takes us back to a specific storytelling project of mine…


8. Write the first draft of a new one-woman show.

Status: 10%

I am working on this. I am. Lots of research has been done. Some stuff is written down. I read a little bit of it out loud at a reading-of-new-work event in November, and that was great. I was going to write the whole draft in November for NaNoWriMo (see Quarterly Report #3) but then my writing buddy went and got an extra job and couldn’t sit around his kitchen table with me/nag me to write with him, and then I agreed to direct a show, and then a volunteer commitment got really really big really fast, and this thing I thought was a deadline turned out not to be and… nope. This one is on me. (I mean, all of those things are true, but they’re not the core reason.)

The honest truth about this project is that it gets shunted down the list, not just after the jobs that pay me, but after the volunteer commitments I have made where other people are depending on me. Because this is a solo show, I am the only one relying on me to get it done, and that makes it honest-to-goodness difficult to prioritize. Because I have a dance organization to run. And a show to tour (see #11). And also a couple of other casual part-time jobs that help pay the bills, and occasionally I accept freelance work even when I am already at capacity because it is exciting and/or because the pay is awesome and freelance work can be hard to find. And while I have a bit of money stocked away to pay myself for this project, it turns out that my desire to say “yes” to projects for others outweighs my motivation to work for myself.

And while this is something that I want to get done, it can wait. It can wait until I can clear my head of grant applications (I have written 6 since January 1st, for reference). It can wait until I can sit still for 20 minutes and not lose my mind because of something urgent that I haven’t done yet. But it can’t wait forever, and I’m reaching the point in my creative life where I need to step back and take a look at the things that are in the way.

So that’s my goal for 2016. Figure out what’s in the way of the things I want to do, and then get rid of those obstacles. And then write this play.

Overall Assessment of 2015: Based on fake math, as usual, I did 94% of the things I set out to do in 2015, which is not quite, but almost, an A+. However, here’s a list of things I did in 2015 that were not on the list:

– fought tooth and nail for public support of arts – and of all things good, really;

– performed in a total of 5 shows with two theatre companies I’ve never worked with before;

– remounted Give Me Back for a high school mental health conference in April;

– moved;

– wrote no fewer than 11 grant applications (possibly more… but those are the ones I can count off the top of my head);

– directed one of my favourite artists and people in her new solo show;

– gained 2 new jobs I quite like.

So, that’s pretty good, really.