To my small, yet perfectly formed and loyal following, I return, emboldened. At least on the surface I am. Truth is, it is just a veneer. I don’t feel so brave, but I have to take this leap of faith. This Arts Council Funding, I feel inordinately fortunate to have passed the selection process. My God, they liked my idea enough, had enough faith in me, to give ME funding, right?
But, as is so often the case in the world of Marsha, I don’t feel either good nor worthy enough. I often say, what I do have, in leaps and bounds, is a good old-fashioned work ethic, hewed from the long succession of dramas that is second nature to growing up in a huge family: sharing a bed with two siblings, milk watered down to make it last longer, and chips every night. We thought everyone lived like that. Since then, and as an adult, I’ve been tested, and have often run on empty, yet I have always stood up, brushed myself down, and turned on my heel to face the world again (my mother taught me that). I’m going to have to ask you to bear with me, I’m getting to the point, circuitously.
Weeks ago, I asked a friend, a professional actress, to perform my words. I had to put it in the diary, otherwise it would never have happened. I would have lost my nerve. Of course she said yes, she was delighted to be asked. We are scheduled to workshop on Sunday but – it’s a pretty big but – it’s Monday evening, and I have written nothing. I have five evenings to create my magnum opus. Why the empty page? I fear ridicule, derision – shall I list them all?
I do know something will be produced, but I will squirm imagining my friend reading it, not like it, not liking me. I know, I know, it sounds ludicrous. No doubt I will press publish later and wonder what I was thinking, why express your insecurities so publicly? I feel I have a lot to prove so, while avoiding writing workshops in the past – they have often intimidated me – I signed up to one. A keen follower of the George Ewart Centre for Storytelling in Cardiff (they do great and interesting work there), http://storytelling.research.southwales.ac.uk/ my interest was piqued when a storytelling workshop was advertised. I signed up. Maybe, I thought, this might be the spark to get me writing.
It was a short, succinct and safe group. And I wrote. A friend reminded me the other day that all creative processes are a risk. But still I must write. She’s waiting. She will be performing next week to the audience whose stories have been inspiring me for the last few months. I can’t imagine they will be kind. One diminutive 96-year-old described me as that boring woman with books last week! See what I mean? They’re a tough audience to please – but, in the immortal words of the late Dick Emery, I do like them.