Recalibrating my privacy settings
While touring nerdfucker this summer, I noticed how much peopleÂ expected autobiography from me. People kept asking, â€œDoes that actually exist?â€ that is, are there people who play chess on other peopleâ€™s backs? Or, â€œDid that really happen?â€ e.g. have I really, somewhere in my colorful past, allowed someone to play a game of chess on my back?
My answers to the first question varied along the spectrum between I have no idea, but itâ€™s possible to some people have more money than sense. The second questionÂ is a little more interesting, because while I have never gotten painted up for the purpose of using my back as a playing surface for any game, I have certainly been in situations with nerd and geek men where I gave freely of my gifts and my love and support, and got utterly used in return.
Iâ€™m not going to go into the specifics, because itâ€™s not useful and itâ€™s still too close to home, way too close, if home is the place where my heart lives with reasonable expectations of just being able to feel feelings without having to write an award-winning play about them just yet. Iâ€™m allowed to have that space.
No one will give that space to me, of course, not when Iâ€™ve builtÂ my performance career up to this point using see-through walls and almost total lack of boundaries. I mine my life for the stories I tell. Thatâ€™s what people have come to know and love and expect, if not actually demand, from me.
This is fine. These are important stories to tell, exploring significant areas in internal and interpersonal psychology, things that donâ€™t get discussed, and I have been happy to use my own experiences as an entry point for larger discussion. But itâ€™s probably no coincidence that my interest in exploring fictional situations and characters has increased at the same time that my own life has gotten increasingly more complex, and different from what it has been. My excavations are more challenging, and I am not operating on my own anymore.
For example, I am in an astonishing, deepening relationship with someone whose parameters around privacy preclude using many of our sex stories for Smut Slams. I could easily say, well, but those are my stories, too, as I have in the past, for smut slam stories and my plays as well.
But these are not parallel situations. My past stories are past, involving people whom no one would any longer connect with me. Those stories are over; they shaped me and theyâ€™re done. This lover now, we are still going, we are still shaping each other. I hope that we always will, and I donâ€™t want to fuck up that process by telling about it.
This is part of the dilemma with which I have been wrestling from the beginning of my career as a playwright/performer: when is it okay to write these stories, and how, and when do I hang on to them, for a later release or never?
For Smut Slam stories, well, since I have decided to go â€œmonoâ€ (monogamous) on all yâ€™allâ€™s assesâ€”thisÂ has been true for over a year now, BTWâ€”this means that my new stories at slams are no longer from the here and now, but mined from the time before. I’ve already decided that I will need to dig back throughÂ my sexual history, even more than I did while writing slut (r)evolution, sifting for useable stories with distinct narratives that rely on something other than immediacy for their impact. (Dammit, I wish I hadnâ€™t black-out-drunk so much in college. My slam bank would be spilling over.) The current sex, the filth of the moment, I will continue to explore full-out, but only with my lover. These are our stories to learn from and laugh at; these are our private smut slams.
And for playsâ€¦ well. These too require more thought lately. Sometimes I will hold off because the story is not done yet; as I noted before, observing a situation or a dynamic can be enough to change it, in unexpected and occasionally problematic ways. Sometimes I need distance and perspective to be able to write and convey what really happened. And sometimes I will hold off, or write a fictional piece, because I can if I want to. I donâ€™t have to give it all, if Iâ€™m afraid or confused, or if I want to go deeper with it than I feel safe doing with the real situation and the real name of the real actual person. The stories from nerdfucker, for example, the main story, that is how I chose to tell it, because it really was too damn close to my own stuff.
So instead, I chose toÂ explore thatÂ story in metaphor, in expanded or exaggerated form, limning the outlines of feeling-truth as best as I couldÂ with something other than the complete and actual, factual truth. There are actually different kinds of truth and feelings, and I am bringing them home.
In this home space, I get to keep deciding how to tell the stories I want to tell. Just because I used to tellÂ everyone everything before, doesnâ€™t mean Iâ€™m going to keep doing it, not in the way that my fans might always recognize. I think youâ€™ll like it; those of you who have seen my new works already do. But I donâ€™t want to get caught up in that too much. More important than how you like these new directions and dynamics is how I like them, how they feel on me, in me, around me.
Iâ€™m resetting, recalibrating, renovating. This is my new home.
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