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Sourdough Star

Depression Funk

I absolutely should've been able to predict the hole I'd find myself in after FRANKENSTEIN at Book-it Repertory Theatre was cancelled because the theatre closed. After 34 years, they're just done. I didn't take it personally, but it was hard. We had this whole plan: I'd have a semi-permanent gallery display in the lobby for the run of the show. Folks could buy pottery, or any of the prints or jewelry I made. We were also planning a pop up market for sometime during the middle of the run to increase ticket sales. I was excited about this different ecosystem I was starting to create with theatres: I'm on contract to direct, but they'd also partner with my small business because theatre still doesn't pay a living wage.


When I tell people how little artists, theatre artists in particular, make you should see their faces. It's the face people make when they support you, but question your actions. A therapist I had a while back asked my why I kept doing theatre if there was so much rejection. I answered something automatic like, "Because, I'm an artist." I've thought about that question and my bullshit answer often over the last 7 years. The entertainment industry is toxic in a way I've tried to avoid. The auditions, the callbacks, the shitty contracts, the working so hard to earn your benefits. I just wanted to be a teacher then my school got rid of my program so rather than majoring in Theatre Education, I majored in Theatre Arts.


I've never just focused on theatre though, I never could. I've been on my own since I was 19. Literally homeless and kicked out of my mother's house via email: it broke me. I sought work that would allow me to pay rent and buy food. My white college roommate's parents were TERRIFIED of the neighborhood I lived in and forbade her to visit me. I recently remembered a conversation we had on the phone when they forbade her from coming to visit me in Hershey too. Her parents were very protective of her and steered her clear of Blackness and poverty whenever they could. It was lonely at 19. I was lonely. Every job I've taken since then has been so I could afford to live. But there's a realization you have when you're middle aged. It's something around how being an artist and the child of parents who didn't want you that helps you see how much you're on your own. I've been loved, yes. Absolutely. I've loved as well. There is a financial loneliness that you understand differently when starting at the tail end of your life.


People often encourage me to be more public, more online. I've tried, but I fucking can't. I hate the Pavlov's bell of likes and notifications. I hate the potential employers who run a Google search on me an stare in awe at the search results then ask me, "But why would you wanna work here???" Like I applied to be an astronaut instead of to support young people and their literacy. It's frustrating when people are more interested in winnowing me via information I didn't have control over. I can't control reviews. I can't control audition announcements. I can't control press. But people stop there and consume a meal of me that I didn't consent to. So here, this blog, my website, is the place I go so people know I'm alive and so there's a record of my world when I'm dead. Jennifer was murdered and all that's left of her online footprint are news articles about her murder like she was only a wife. Like she didn't have a life before she met the man that killed her.


So, here are some photos of the simple life I've been living.



Pic 1: High Hydration sourdough success!

Pic 2: Another high hydration sourdough success that I gave to my neighbor

Pic3: Sourdough bagels that I made and gave to my neighbor

Pic 4: I'm growing thyme hydroponically! I have three hydroponic gardens. At first I tried for variety, but in the end I grow things I consume regularly thyme, being West Indian, is very important.

Pic 5: I finally got off my ass and hemmed my cutoff coveralls. This is a photo of the fabric in the serger.

Pick 6: The frayed edges of the item I ended up hemming.



So that's what I've been up to. I'm prepping to vend at a festival that's aiming for 25,000 audience members. As motivation and to avoid overwhelm I'm planning to take pictures and videos and share the process here and via my subscription patrons.


till next time!


Jéhan




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