Written 31 July, 2020
In the news today, 2 teenage girls from Victoria took the virus into virus-free Queensland, lying where they’d come from to get over the closed border. They took it to restaurants, bars, hotels. Can a simple lie of where you come from begin a second wave?
Down to my tiny concerns. I’m a little late for my lecture because my lipstick went missing- a girl only feels dressed with lipstick – and my technical support can only walk slowly along the track in front of all the houses. His back is aching, and he’s painfully dragging his feet. In the supermarket, I can tell he’s approaching me in the supermarket by the way his feet drag on the floor, like brooms.
The creativity class is assembled in their various rooms, all professional musicians, composers, singers, opera singers. My NIDA boss, my friend Stephen Sewell is there for the first lesson because he had the vision of centring his NIDA playwright course on creativity, as different from most universities who teach creative writing while skirting the whole question of creativity as being too difficult, even “harmful”. My lovely Professor is talking to them all, keeping things going. I’m embarrassed for being late so I dive straight in, getting them to speak about their experience of moment of creativity. The boatshed has beautiful light and though i try to be reserved, I find myself using words I didn’t mean to use, saying things like:
In creativity, we’re seeking transcendence.
and then I wish i could’ve stuffed the words back in my mouth. It was the light’s fault.
But they seem delighted. I lecture, they discuss, I show videos, they discuss. Usually, even creative people only talk about creativity, as Stephen says, over a drink and late at night. Too timid and fearful that creativity will never return, instead we talk agents, deals- the outside thing. I explain the advantages of neuroscience for us as artists- it gives us a language to discuss this inexpressible but essential experience, and science shows it’s an ordinary brain activity that we can call on whenever we want- it’s not flighty, it doesn’t betray us, it’s readily available like any other brain activity, as long as we put ourselves into the space of stillness, silencing the brain’s chatter. And of course, if we have a skill- ten years, the researchers say.
Two hours goes so fast, we go overtime to 2 hours 15 minutes. My professor rings to tell me that one texted that it was a rare and valuable discussion.
Exhausted, I walk back along the track to home and we go as far as Dy’s, to give him back his booster. His friend Oliver is high up a tree, chainsawing it. We have to crane our necks. He’s like a huge bird.
I go home and sleep till dinner time, when I have only the energy to make a celery and cheese omelette for us all.