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- A Story of O’s
Because yes, it really has been almost a year. Fuuuuuck. I just posted my schedule for the Winnipeg Fringe Festival on the A Story of O’s page, and I hope to book a venue for a run of the show in Portland before the end of the year as well. I may start writing here more. I may not. Lots of change in my life over the past couple years, and I do miss this as an outlet. We shall see. In the meantime, you can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Fetlife as @TonyaJoneMiller. I tend to update social media with much more regularity than this blog.
It would be difficult for me to think of any two-week span in my lifetime that was more incredible and mind-blowing than my experience at the 2012 Winnipeg Fringe Festival. It really was like getting to be the star of my very own fairy tale.
Unless you want to make yourself crazy, you have to understand that once you present your art to the world, you have no control over how it is received and interpreted. I won’t lie; validation from audiences, critics, and (most importantly to me) one’s peers feels good. But if you depend on that for motivation, your creativity is subject to the whims of everyone save yourself. I tell stories because I have something to say that I believe needs to be heard. I don’t tell stories so people will pat me on the back and tell me how wonderful and talented I am. Sure, it’s nice to hear, and I appreciate positive feedback as much as anyone. But I tell stories to remind people that we are all connected.
More important to me than critical and financial success, those two weeks in Winnipeg gave me a sense of connectedness with my fellow human beings that I don’t think I’d ever felt before. Me telling my (mother’s) story gave people permission to tell theirs. Complete strangers walked up to me on the street to thank me, and to share their own similar experiences. Gratitude, appreciation, respect. Smiles, hugs, tears. It was simultaneously flattering and humbling.
Hands down, the most memorable of these interactions involved Walt and Jody. They were a charming couple who flagged me down at the King’s Head Pub one afternoon and insisted on buying me a drink. We chatted for a bit, and I was just struck by what delightful people they were. Threads really resonated with Walt, for personal reasons I don’t feel it’s my place to share. We crossed paths a couple of times over the course of the festival and ended up befriending each other on Facebook.
When I returned to Winnipeg in 2013, we made plans to catch up over a lovely dinner, which Jody and Walt, ever generous, insisted on treating me to. They talked up the show to tons of people, and it really kind of felt like they were my champions. They had become an integral part of my Winnipeg experience. They weren’t just a couple who had seen my show; they were my friends. When I didn’t get drawn in the Winnipeg lottery this year, I think they were as bummed out as I was. We were already looking forward to the possibility of 2015.
Last night, I logged into Facebook and was shocked and heart-broken to read the following post on Walt’s wall:
“Dear friends of Walt: Most of you don’t know me, and I don’t know you. I am his girlfriend and life partner of the past 6 years. Rather than have you wonder what happened to his online presence, I wanted to let you know that he passed away very suddenly sometime last night. He was not ill; in fact he was happily looking forward to breakfast with his son. I will keep his facebook page active for a while and check it from time to time in case anyone wishes to post a farewell message here. I hope that all of his family members have heard the news by now and that this is not a shock for you. For those of you who were personal friends and former co-workers, I know that Walt did not really keep in touch very much, but I believe that he valued each and every one of you in his understated way. I will check this page for the next little while. Peace and blessings to all. -Jody”
Sweet, wonderful Jody, my heart goes out to you. Words are not adequate at a time like this, but I am sending my love and sympathy to you across the miles.
And to Walt…Your smile and words of encouragement live on in some of my fondest memories. You are profoundly missed. Winnipeg will not be the same without you.
Yes, we made it to Winnipeg in one piece, and haven’t stopped moving. Details of our drive and pictures from the trip can be found on our tour blog. Since we arrived, we’ve been flyering, postering, meeting other Fringers, serenading people standing in line for other shows with “8 Miles Wide” by Storm Large…
The only downside has been my utter inablity to find a poachable wi-fi signal in range of an electrical outlet, since my laptop battery barely lasts 10 minutes. Hence, my blog silence. I had a mini-breakdown yesterday and had to call Howard ($0.69 per minute roaming charges be damned!) for some reassurance. I was upset that I haven’t been able to take care of the Bay City Blues business I promised to while I was gone, mostly building new girls’ pages. See, all of the info and pictures are on my laptop hard drive, and I can’t stay online for more than a couple of minutes on it. *sigh* But being the prince that he is, he calmed me down and told me he’d take care of it. I still need to do some graphics, but it was a huge weight off my shoulders. I was feeling very split, like I couldn’t give either BCB or Inviting Desire the necessary attention.
Also, I brought all sorts of sexy summer clothes to look hot in while promoting the show, and aside from the first day we got here, it has been like Oregon in October. Chilly, rainy…It feels homey, but it’s hardly conducive to traipsing around in our wispy nothings. *sigh* Ah well, we seem to be managing to make a spectacle of ourselves regardless. Heh.
So there you have it. I will try to update as often as possible, but I can’t make any promises. And if you’re waiting for an email response, please please please be patient…
I miss a lot of things/people from home, but this is really an amazing adventure!
Finally have Inviting Desire venue assignments and performance dates for all three Canadian fringe festivals. Just posted them on my Events & Appearances page. It looks like tickets are already on sale for Winnipeg and Calgary, but not Edmonton yet.
Holy crap. This is going to be crazy! I’m starting to get really excited. This is shaping up to be one hell of a summer…
I need to go figure out my cell phone situation. I’m taking my laptop and will hopefully be able to poach wireless signals wherever we go, but I still don’t know if I’ll be able to take phone sex calls. Privacy will certainly be at a premium, and even if I can manage some alone time, I’m not sure whether I’ll be able to afford to use a bunch of expensive mobile minutes. Depends on what kind of deals Verizon has I suppose. I might try installing Skype too. Anyway, I’ll keep you posted as I get more details. Regardless, it’s definitely going to be harder to reach me during July and August. Email will probably be the most reliable way, or posting blog comments here. I may be able to make appointments a day or two in advance but need to play it by ear for the most part.
Whew. I better start working on my To-Do list or I’ll never be ready to leave by the 10th…