Lightening Strikes but misses the sausage at Gammage.

Lightening strikes. At 5.30am I am awake. Same as it has been for the
entire two weeks of my visit here. I write my morning pages. Morning
Pages are an invention of Julia Cameron. Her book The Artists Way is
one that I can recommend to you whether you are an artist or not.   The morning
are one cornerstone of Ms Cameron's teachings. Three pages a morning as
soon as you wake. The pages can be about everything and anything or
nothing. They are not to be re-read, not to be edited and not to be
improved upon. They set the tone of the day for the artist. Engage.

I do this blog too, right. But I do the blog for an entirely different reason.  
Let me explain. As you may or may not know i have never had a family. At base all
family does is confirm the existence,  therefore confirming the
relevance therefore the  life of its  members Birthdays marriages, funerals, all these are part of that
confirmation. But it happens on a macro level too, within the family
dynamics, negative or positive – all are confirmation of the others
existance.  I have never had that. This means that each time I am
in the newspaper, like the article in The Independent a couple of weeks
ago and every time I am on the radio like the BBC World Service which I
was on today (the programme is called Network Africa), all I am doing –
bottom line – 
is leaving digital artistic printed footprints that confirm I existed
at any given point in time.  I was here. I was alive.  

I have done this from as early as 20 years of age. It has been a
difficult concept to  communicate to others. But it also
means  I have no  “fame complex”. I do what I do, write books
perform on stage etc, for  reasons much much
bigger than that.  I  can now trace my life from 18 years old
with the first newspaper coverage to now. I was here. I was alive.

It’s morning time. Phoenix
is circled by mountains. They call it the valley of the sun.  Kinda makes sense – it’s  been the hottest place in America
this past two weeks. Looking out of my hotel room over swaying  palms  a
storm’s a comin’. I love storms in hot countries:  Lightening striking the mountains over Cape
Town.  Storms breaking
over the Atlantic sea off the coast of Senegal
where I stand in the old slave ports. Purple rain off the coast in the bay
of San Fransisco  .  And
right here right now in daytime Arizona.

 I’m listening to the Gil Scott heron track “Storm music”. The
mountains are invisible.  Its as if milk
has been spilled on the sky. The clouds.  The sky is  a sheet of electrified white. Thunder rumbles round
the mountains that surround us like a boulder has been thrown round a super sized
roulette wheel. and as the ball bounces The hotel shakes and lightning strikes.

 Electric. From my 7th floor Balcony it makes the
hairs on the back of my neck stand up, and applaud.  It’s been a great two weeks here at Phoenix,
Arizona. All events organised by ASU Public
Events.  The lightening  in the distance looks like it is striking the
roof of the The Gammage Theatre were  I will be
performing on Saturday were  I am going
to make my own electricity. It feels like a good omen.  The final gig of this mini-residency is
Something Dark, my One man show.  It
lasts ninety minutes.  It’s either gonna
be electric or be electrified, either way, it’s all good. Preparation is the key to all spontaneity.   I was here , I was alive.


All this lightening has got me thinking,  maybe I could hold out a sausage on a fork on
 my balcony  in the hope that it  might strike and cook the sausage  for me.. But  then the picture  comes to mind of me   burned entirely black, a wisp of smoke curling from each ear, holding a metal fork with
an uncooked sausage on it.  Time for
breakfast I think.

2 thoughts on “Lightening Strikes but misses the sausage at Gammage.

  1. Lemn Sissay,
    I attended your performance last Saturday at ASU. It was courageous and beautiful. It made me feel like I was alive, that I wholly exist in this place where so many parts of me are invisible. Overcoming fear, I asked you a question that wrapped my self into your words, your world. We became intertwined for a moment, suspended. When I walked away, I felt conflicted, that physical space inside myself where an unknown force is pressing outwards, a dull kind of pain, strangeness. I could not come to face you and try to explain. I wanted to know if it ever stops, does it ever stop that one uncovers truth on top of truth on top of truth on top of truth, stretching thin, sometimes melting away and re-emerging . . . light . . . heavy . . . light. . .
    I woke up the next morning and started writing to you. I found your blog. I wanted to send you my words, but I stopped. I spoke with my mother next. That unknown force spilled out and I confronted her. I asked her the same questions I have asked for years, I asked her new ones, truth on top of truth on top of truth on top of truth and we descended into the “i am talking on top of you talking on top of me” style conversation. Then, it hit me. I have this. I have this engagement. I can challenge the truth, test my existence and the way that I exist. Maybe this is what I was trying to do with you. This is what I know how to do. In struggle, I find existence, neither here or there, just right there, in the middle of that struggle.
    I am also immersed in understanding truths and identity in my professional life. I work with children who come to the United States alone across many borders for so many different reasons, some of whom for asylum protection. Others have not seen parents for many years and they come in search of them. They sit inside shelters, where I have to understand their truths and present them to judges and other lawyers and social workers and psychologists and so on and so forth. All week long, your face came into my mind. The letter your mother wrote. The phone calls his mother made. The social worker who did not tell you. The lawyer who did not tell her. You woke up some part of me, a new awareness, heightened, cognizant, a little more careful with the emerging persons that I work with everyday. Lightening did strike.

  2. The extremes are yet more burned into the back of my skull. *carried on one extending spark*
    cheers, says the bartender who is happiness and sadness on different sides of the mirror

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