I’m making a new thing. #elusivemaybes

Every show performed in a different lounge room. A one woman theatre experiment asking “How can we feel so alone surrounded by people who love us?”

 

“The sound of a baby crying

The sound of a kettle boiling

The sound of a dog howling

The sound of a closing door”

Sing Me Your Sorrow Installation Day 1

Image: Sing Me Your Sorrow, presented at Crack Theatre Festival 2013

What: Another Elusive Maybe is a small-scale performance experience designed for the intimate surroundings of actual real life lounge rooms. Limited to a maximum audience of 8 people per show, the experience incorporates soundscape, poetry, performance and live text message conversations.

Through the lens of parenting a small child, this is an art experience about loneliness and love and community and how we don’t ask for help. Parents of small children in particular will resonate with Another Elusive Maybe, though anyone who has ever felt lost and conflicted about their choices may also see themselves reflected.

Another Elusive Maybe is an independent project by South Australian artists. There’s no budget and no funding and none of the artists are getting paid.* This project is an experiment. Exploring a number of ideas about the kind of work I want to make in the future. As such this iteration is unlikely to be fully resolved and will see future development. Audiences at Adelaide Fringe will be the first to get an invite to future developments. So come and see inside the process of making new things!

*even selling all the tickets won’t fully cover the cost of fringe registration, equipment and fuel!


Who:

Another Elusive Maybe is a biographical musing (by me obviously) in collaboration with Ryan Morrison. Ryan and I met through our shared experiences with Riverland Youth Theatre (though we didn’t engage with RYT at the same time, we stumbled across each other later) and we’ve collaborated on a number of projects over the last five years. Most recently I loaned my voice to Ryan’s ‘Shapes in Deep Shadow’, a multi-modal, meta-fictional work Ryan completed as part of his Creative Writing Masters. Experience it here: https://shapesindeepshadow.wordpress.com/

Ryan is a clever multi-form artist playing in the writing and sound/music space mostly. He also does a rad daily comic over at http://onlythetruest.com/

I’m assuming if you are reading this here, you already know me, but if not, more about me and who I am here: https://alyshaherrmann.wordpress.com/about/

and ye olde bio here:

Alysha Herrmann is a proud parent, regional artist and advocate working across disciplines in the arts, education, community development, social justice and social enterprise. She is a writer, theatre-maker, cultural producer and the current Creative Producer of ExpressWay Arts. Alysha has won numerous awards for her work using the arts to interrogate and explore community concerns and aspirations including most recently the 2015 Kirk Robson Award, 2014 Channel 9 Young Achiever Arts Award and was named by SA Life as one of SA’s fastest rising stars under 30 in 2014. Alysha also tweets tiny poems as @lylyee and blogs about living a creative life at https://alyshaherrmann.wordpress.com

 

Curious? Come and see the thing, these are the deets:

 

When & Where:

16th Feb, 23rd Feb, 8th March

All shows 8pm

All tickets $15

Book at https://www.adelaidefringe.com.au/

*location will be emailed in the week before selected performance

Running time approx. 40minutes

Bring your mobile phone and keep it turned on. Free cookie at every show.

 

And if you can’t make the Fringe dates, rustle up a group of friends (5-8, including yourself) and book the show for your own loungeroom in March/April. Contact me directly for this pressurelands AT me DOT come.

xx

 

 

A sea of not silent: Other words in other places.

I’ve been a little quiet here, but I’ve been sharing plenty of other words and insights in other places. So if you’re hankering for my writerly voice – duck over to my patreon here (updates on my latest exploration as a poet in residence at City Library) or my artist facebook page here (various bits and bobs, some old and some new).

And of course I’m always writing micro poetry over on Twitter as @lylyee using #tinytwitterpoem.

I will be sharing some things right back here on the original bloggio in August though, so don’t abandon me entirely.

 

x

Turnings on Edges #effyourbeautystandards

*

Originally published by the Skin Deep Project May 2014

*

Last month I said I’d talk about the ‘turning point’ for me in learning to love and accept my body. But I actually told a bit of a fib. That’s not *exactly* what I’m going to share. I can’t talk about the turning point, because I didn’t win the war with my body.

 

My body is not a static, unchanging experience.

 

My body has grown two children. It has fluctuated in dress size, in fitness, in muscle tone, in appearance. I have new scars, freckles and moles. My dress sense has changed as my life (and confidence) has changed. My hair colour and style is an ongoing party.

 

I didn’t win the war against my body because I am my body. Because my body changes and so do I. Instead, I have (tried to) embraced honesty with myself. I have (tried to) embraced self-reflection and the process of asking myself – why?

 

Why do I find my body lacking?

Why do I measure my body against a narrow and media defined beauty standard?

Why do I tie my body to the sexual desire of others?

Why do I punish my body and soul for failing these arbitrary standards?

Why do I de-value the experience and strength of my body?

Why have I sought aesthetic beauty and in doing so made my body, heart and soul sick on many occasions?

 

Why? Why? Why?

 

And somewhere within exploring these whys, I’ve found a healthy tension between seeking improvement and loving what is – and discovering that I want and need both. And that’s okay. It really is okay. My body is not a static, unchanging experience. My body is a lesson. A lesson in gratitude. A lesson in humility. A lesson in honesty. A lesson in love. There are days when I love my body, it’s shapes and curves and aesthetics. There are days when all I can see is how far I am from the ideal presented to us in the media. There are days when I don’t even really notice my body.

Mummy with Amaya

Image: with Amaya, one day old 2014.

My daughter will be six weeks old this Saturday. She came into the world on Easter Saturday after a very painful but uncomplicated labour. My strong, powerful and healthy body brought both of us safely through that experience. And as I’ve nursed her over the last few weeks, I’ve thought a lot about the body messages I want to give her. The way she’ll feel when she looks in the mirror. I have years to figure out what I want to say to her and years to continue shaping how I role model the lessons I hope she learns but here are some early thoughts for her (and for you, reading this):

 

  • You are glorious. Glorious and powerful beyond your believed boundaries.
  • Your body (and your life) belongs to you. Keep exploring and decide which adventures you want to deepen. And which you want to discard. Choose deliberately.
  • Whatever else you do, care for your body, it is the vessel carrying you through your life. Make it last and enjoy what it can do – if you let it – bodies are fun!
  • I cannot give you the answers. I cannot erase the doubts, the fears, the pain you will encounter – but I will be here. To hold you. To listen. To make you cups of tea.

 

 

Turn these corners.

Fold them in to,

New mirrors,

Blank pages,

Deep dreams.

 

What’s your favourite body positive message or piece of advice?

 

 

**

 

 

 

 

Fatty Number Two

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Originally published by the Skin Deep Project April 2014

*

Fatty Number Two

*My body did nothing to you.

 

 

Does anyone else remember being weighed in PE class at school? Do they still do that?

 

I’m not sure, but I think this is where one of my high school nicknames began.

 

Fatty Number Two.

 

I still don’t know who Fatty Number One was.

 

Although I don’t remember what I weighed and therefore can’t tell you my BMI or any surface indicator like that – I can tell you that I walked to school every day and I was the second fastest in my class in the 100 and 200 metre sprints. And looking back on photos from that period – I wasn’t fat at all** – I was healthy and beautiful.

 

prom

Image: aged 12, attending a school formal

 

(**And even if I had been, clearly Fatty Number Two was not an appropriate nickname for anyone to be gifted with!!)

 

Yet I believed I was fat, because I’d been labelled fat and therefore fat I was. My relationship with food quickly became an unhealthy dance between eating nothing and shovelling in a chocolate bar where no one could see me. My body was a source of shame, something to be covered, hidden and punished.

 

As I entered the official ‘teen’ years, I hit puberty early and was one of the first girls in my class to have breasts. And even once the other girls joined me, I remained one of the bustier in my age group throughout high school. Cue bra strap pulling and another new nickname ‘socks’. I had a boy in Year 9 date me for a week just because he wanted to confirm that my breasts were real and not a bra full of socks/tissues.

 

Sigh.

 

My body just refused to conform. Refused to let me disappear into the background, however much I wanted it to. I spent less time eating and more time pretending to eat. The secret chocolate bars disappeared. Yet rather than becoming smaller, my body betrayed me and I actually started to gain weight.

 

I felt trapped. Trapped and fat and ugly. Undesirable. Undesirable in a world which told me being desirable was the road to love. My body had become a battleground, though I don’t remember ever signing up for the war.

 

Your name, here.

Ready to stand

Arms raised

Songs spilled

Border to border

With shaking hands.

 

We march, together

Apart, separate

From the skin we live within

The smile lines that coat hands

Faces, familiar spaces.

 

We sing,

Histories into scars

Bodies into boxes

Heroes into holes.

 

We speak,

With lips that shake

Eyes that remake

These models,

To measure by.

 

I intend to write about the turning point in my war with my body next month – but I wanted to ask you all, what has been the turning point for you or someone you know? And if you haven’t found the turning point yet, what do you think would help?

 

A Caring Portrait – 2015

Four artists. Ten carers.
 
Many stories. One exhibition.
 
 
 
Weight I’m trying to hold for you/
a gift I’m trying to save for you/
these words I try to tame for you//
poem by @lylyee
 
 
A Caring Portrait was a micro community arts and cultural development project bringing together individuals with a caring role as a collaborating partner with professional artists. Together the artists and participants created fantasy portraits, which celebrate and share the diversity and strength of what lays beneath the exterior of individuals in a caring role. The project was commissioned by Carer Support and proudly supported by the Australian Government HACC (Home and Community Care) Program.
 

As an artist and maker and as a person I’m particularly fascinated by the secret dreams everyone has for themselves and how these dreams influence our daily lives and stories. And the tension between who we are inside and who we sometimes need to be for others which is especially relevant when you have a caring role. And so with A Caring Portrait I really hoped that the project could be an invitation for the participating carers to share their stories and hopes with us and that in some small way the end product would celebrate and document the diversity and strength of the amazing carers that are part of the Carer Support community.

 

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(…)
 
“It reminded me of what is important and what I would like to achieve for myself,” she said.
 
By shifting the focus from her family to herself, Danielle felt the process began to motivate her to think about areas of her life that she may have previously not been able to make time for.
 
“It was empowering,” Danielle said.
 
(…)
 
 
 
 
My cake collection baked a fierce feminist/
I am she/
she is me/
I accept//
poem by @lylyee
 
 
Artist Team
L – R: Siobhan, Alysha, Vanessa, Brianna
*
A Caring Portrait
 
February to May 2015
 
Alysha Herrmann – Creative Producer and Poet (@lylyee)
 
Vanessa Kalderovskis –Body and Face Artist
 
Siobhan Fearon – Photographer
 
Brianna Obst – Assistant artist
 
Collaborating Carers:
Marissa Wilkinson
Jessica Scoble
Penelope Monk
Vanessa Kalderovskis
Danielle Crew
Jade Teigeler
Dianne Hill
Mark Woodhouse
Jacinta Woodhouse
Joshua Stokes
 
 
Thank you to all of the fantastic staff at Carer Support who supported this project and for their ongoing passion for the work they do of caring for carers.
 
In particular thank you to Carer Support staff Marg, Tina, Julie and Josh for initiating the project with Alysha and Vanessa and collaborating with the artists to see it come to life.
 
You can see the final exhibition of photography and poetry at the Southern Carer Support Centre, 241B Main South Road Morphett Vale during office hours.
 
Photographer Siobhan Fearon shared some beautiful blog thoughts into the process along the way, which you can find here: http://siobhanfearon.weebly.com/blog/category/acaringportrait

 

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A gathering of sticks and stones #poetry #thedirtythirtychallenge #fire

 

A gathering of sticks and stones:

 

I see the strain in your hunched shoulders little love

Your crouched knees show me everything

Eye to eye we curl into each other

My fingers reach towards you

Flickering and clean

But you –

   Retreat.

 

*

 

Dirty Thirty Day 23 Prompt:

Write a poem from the perspective of a natural element ie. water, fire, earth etc., or a force of nature, for instance, a hurricane, earthquake, tornado etc.
The clincher: the poem gets shorter with each line.

 

The Dirty Thirty Challenge is one poem a day for the thirty days of April. Dirty Thirty prompts are from ‘The Dirty Thirty Challenge’ facebook group (admins). Poems published here are my own unless otherwise specified.