Week in review: May 3 – May 9

I’m posting this late. I was simply too tired on Friday, May 9th, to do a weekly review.

The week’s content production was focused on Sampsonia aka Teresia Sherley. This has been the hardest so far, harder even than I’tisam al-Din’s part. The challenge of the latter was in getting acquainted with the old Farsi, selecting and translating some passages. These were difficult processes but once I became familiar to the language, the reading, selecting and translating became more facile. And, most importantly, there was an original text to work with. In the case of Sampsonia, there is no original text by her, so I’ve had to read many secondary sources to collect material that would allow me to construct a plausible narrative for her. The file containing the excerpt is much larger and the process of arriving at a final draft will be much more difficult, no doubt. I have two more books to pull from. I hope to be done with these today so I can close the box for a while and let things mix.

I’m actually excited about getting to Joseph Emin, whose memoirs I was reading last week during lunch and at night. His will go much more smoothly again because there is an original text to work from, and because it was written in English (“by himself,” as the title indicates) I won’t have to translate. I have to decide though whether to update the language since it is written in third person voice. Reading it offers an interesting mind-bend as he talks about himself as “he” or “Emin” while giving some intimate details that one expects to be given in first person voice.

I saw NeoIndigenA, a dance performance by Kahawi Dance Theatre’s Santee Smith at the Harbourfront Centre on Saturday, May 3rd; ticket courtesy of dear friend and colleague Zainab Amadahy. I found the dance piece visually very interesting but emotionally flat. Her performance was masterful and I loved that she started it by walking through the space and the audience first. I was moved by the lighting. It was so tangible and sensuous, so present. The magic of a black box. Tempted me to think of performing Passages in a black cube rather than a white cube. (I have a possibility for that in mind.) The music was a good mix of techno, instrumental, vocal. Her physical presence is quite strong. In some moments I was so moved by her performance and presence that I felt like I wanted to join in the movement, but the choreography became predictable soon as in fact the narrative did. I’m grateful for having seen the piece though. It was a rare treat. Interestingly, it brought me another gift, again, courtesy of Zainab.

I told her about my recent yoga work focusing on healing trauma, and we ended up deciding to collaborate in her upcoming workshop at Beit Zatoun. So, part of last week was spent in conceptualizing this and preparing for the publicity and an interview on the Vibe Collective‘s CIUT program. Excited about this. It’ll be a good opportunity to put my learning into practice with the kind of participants I hope to have.

Preparations for traveling to San Francisco are underway! Yeap! The plan is confirmed. I even have managed to sublet my house. A few more days to iron out some stuff and then I’ll be buying my tickets! Yay! Really looking forward to getting sweaty and messy with brush and ink and large scale embodied writing.

Good exchange with my always-generous adviser Dr. Mansour Bonakdarian. I’m still in doubt about the remaining two personas. As always, Mansour had really good suggestions and tons of links which I’m yet to go through. I’ll post some notes on this later.

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