Conducting wrap-ups like these has become an important marker since the brain injury & memory loss: I always find it helpful to actually acknowledge what I’ve achieved over the past 12 months before stuffing it away in a filing box and moving on to the next year. So.
2017 was... intense. I had a show professionally produced in London; I successfully completed the first year of my Ph.D. and another year of teaching playwriting at university, and I was shortlisted for and won a selection of awards. I got my braces off. At the same time: the postal plebiscite. At the same time: some sort of psychic rupture as I tried to figure out who I was, who I am, and who I want to be. (Maybe I’m still figuring that last one out.)
This was also maybe the first year that I’ve felt I’ve had a full handle on my personality and myself since the accident and injury. The first where I’ve known what to expect, expected it, and not been surprised by the outcome (in a good way). The first where I’ve genuinely looked at the path I’m following and been happy with the end point. The first maybe, where I’ve genuinely looked at the path I’m following and been happy to not know the end point, not exactly. I’ve moved in with some dear friends, Jeremy lives literally across the road, we have a dumb beautiful feline friend, and I’ve been seeing my psychologist more with more regularity.
I don’t know what things will look like in six months from now, not really, but for the first time in a long time, I feel confident in my ability to handle it.
Number of places I’ve lived: 2.
Number of states I’ve visited: 3.
Number of countries I’ve visited outside of Australia: 1. (On my lonesome! Look at me, I'm a real adult!)
Number of plays I’ve written: 2. (The Ph.D. Marat/Sade adaptation, in a constant state of redevelopment, and another, Disinhibition, for and with Yvonne Virsik.)
Number of times I made money from writing: 4 (One up from last year! Look at me. Progression.).
Number of times I was emotionally or mentally fulfilled by writing: (still) countless.
Number of anxiety attacks I’ve had: 5. (Four down from last year! Look at me. Progression.)
Number of therapy sessions I’ve had: 14. (It’s going up next year. Progression?)
Number of friends from the Internet I finally met in person: 1. (Hey, Harry!)
Number of new tattoos: 5. (A pansy, a pink switchblade, a jockstrap, a vapourwave statue, and existential carbohydrates. My brand is on point.)
Number of shows I wrote that were produced: 2.
Number of shows I wrote that I starred in: 1.
Number of shows I wrote that toured: 1.
Number I was proud of: 2.
Favourites – not all produced this year, but intrinsically linked to my path through the year:
“Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?” edited by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore
“Adult Fantasy” by Briohny Doyle
“Walking Through Clear Water in a Pool Painted Black” by Cookie Muller
“Idaho” by Emily Ruskovich
“Lockpick Pornography” by Joey Comeau
“The Good Place”
“Bojack Horseman” (always)
“Get Out” by Jordan Peele
“Moonlight” by Barry Jenkins
“God’s Own Country” by Francis Lee
“It” by Andy Muschietti
“Drum”, Gold Class
“Pushin’ Against a Stone”, Valerie June
“I See You”, The xx
“Forget”, Xiu Xiu
“Heaven Upside Down”, Marilyn Manson
“No Shape”, Perfume Genius
“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” by Edward Albee (Harold Pinter Theatre, London)
“Nanette” by Hannah Gadsby (Melbourne Arts Centre)
“Revolt. She said. Revolt Again.” by Alice Birch (Malthouse)
“Peaches Christ Superstar” by Peaches/Andrew Lloyd Webber (Theatre Royal, Hobart)
Resolutions for the New Year:
1. Only pay for media (music, film, books, so on) created by queer people, women, or men of colour. I've seen enough of the straight white narrative, thanks.
2. Fucking be more confident. It’s been coming in fits and starts, and I feel I’m finally at the stage where I can actively work on it.
3. Love harder - things, works of art, people – and be more tender, more willing to put my feelings on the line.
Developing Disinhibition with Yvonne and a group of awesome students.
Seeing The Mutant Man finally brought to life in London with an amazing team of people. (Also, less a ‘moment’, but the joy that came out of the play’s responses, and London’s critical culture.)
Tours of London and so many places I would never have known about from old (great) mate Alex Dye. Seagulling my accommodation from her and just shooting the shit, feeling like no time had passed at all for the ten days I spent with her. (Also, performing a dress rehearsal of Intoxication for her in her lounge room. Intimate dot com. Technically I’ve now ~toured internationally~.)
Running on fumes and terror as I touched down from London to Melbourne and then left for Canberra to perform Intoxication as a one person show a couple of days later.
But then feeling intensely proud of myself for doing the thing and doing it well. Of course, this would've been impossible without Emma's support and guidance.
Speaking of well: that first performance of Intoxication as a one-person show. Crammed into a lounge-room with people I didn’t know, everyone incredibly receptive, everyone giving and sharing. Just fucking joyous.
Going with mates to an old farmhouse in Mitre, feeling fairly certain we were going to die (the airbnb had only two photos: a cabin, and one of a rusty swing with an abandoned teddy bear) and then discovering actually it was brilliant and run by lovely people.
The intensely bittersweet feeling of winning the inaugural Melbourne Fringe Queer Development Award but not being there to accept it because I was touring the show that won.
After winning the award, realising I should probably start calling myself a performer.
Jane Griffiths, my Ph.D. supervisor, coming to collect me after my confirmation ceremony (they make you wait as they decide your fate) and flashing me a covert thumbs up and a warm smile.
The Scribe Non-fiction Masterclass – meeting a whole bunch of lovely fellow writers, learning an awful lot, and finally ticking off the challenge I’d laid myself a few years earlier (being shortlisted for the Scribe prize.)
The queer haven of 108 Greville Street. Realising I could rely on and support my beautiful queer mates (Trel and Jacob) and they could in reverse. Likewise, that one of my oldest and best friends lived (and still works) across the road: that I got to integrate a beautiful human into the everyday of my life.
Feeling pretty profesh as I stayed in (irregular) contact with Joey Comeau about adapting his book into a stage play, and then… actually getting to do/develop it. (It hasn't been performed yet, but it's happening, ma - it's really happening.)
The intense sting of hurt as equal marriage was finally legalized and I realised that for me, it’d all been for nothing, all I’d gotten was hurt.
Finally getting a cat – Katinka, so named for the Milla Jovovich character in Zoolander – and loving her an absurd fucking amount. She is the colour of our carpet, she is a little purr monster, and she occasionally gets stuck in our venetian blinds like Winnie the Pooh.
Christmas at Ali's house. An amazing feast cooked by her beautiful mother, Julie, and just generally actually feeling happy and joyous on Christmas for the first time in a long time. Love, lovely people, and happiness.
Feeling a lot more present in my interactions, a lot more solid, a lot more genuine.
Last year I said: I can’t do it alone – I shouldn’t have to, and neither should you. And this was proven in 2017. Alex and Heather in London, Emma in the Fringe/You Are Here/Critical Animals, Jeremy in general, Ali working just across the road and getting the joy of her love on the regular, Jacob and Trel being the bestest house-supports. (Emotional lumbar support beams?). Meeting and cultivating new friendships with people and, unlike 2016, not spilling my anxious guts all over them. Building emotional bridges.
2018 is going to be a big one. A real fucking big one. But I’m not scared. Determined, yes. (Grimly so.) But I’m going to kill it, and it’s going to be great.