Dec 4th 2017
Monday morning. I am sitting on the landing outside the children’s bedroom. It is still properly dark outside the windows. I would never know it was about to be morning if I had not checked the time on my phone. In half an hour I must wake the children and go into our day. I will be ‘on’ with them. This is the shorthand we use in our household for whomever is the one looking after them. It suggests to me not so much the image of a switch, as that of a stage. It is another daily way in which my mothering and my creative practice intersect. I have all but given up performing since becoming a mother but I am ‘on’ most of the time to my small, discerning audience of two. I get reviews. I get applause and boos. I am always keenly watched. I have done some of my best improvised singing to them – no one else but this audience will ever hear it.
As when performing there are certain thoughts, concerns, emotions present in me that are not officially part of the play. Things I feel when I am standing in the wings and which I am not supposed to bring on stage with me, but I do. Today those things are my exhaustion – I have slept little the last three nights – and my anxiety about the crowdfunder for Mothers Who Make. We have been running it for almost a week and have raised 1.5K. I am at once deeply touched and heartened that people have given generously and cheered us on in their comments of support, and also scared at how unlikely it seems that we will reach our 10K target. I am scared too of how intense it is and of how it requires a different kind of my being ‘on’ with which I am not familiar. Not being onstage to a live audience in the room with me. Not being on to two small children running round me. Being ‘on’ to you, whomever you are, still very much a live audience but unseen, on a screen of your own somewhere. Online. That kind of on.
Remembering and including the embodied world beyond the edges of this bright rectangle of screen helps me. So, here I am, Monday morning, sitting crossed legged on the landing on the edge of the dark bedroom, about to go ‘on’ with the durational performance we call motherhood, thinking about you out there and hoping to connect with you via our Mother’s Who Make crowdfunding campaign.