decentre is all about questioning what we take for granted. If we’re not curious about the things considered “normal” then we’ll never learn how to accept each other’s differences.
Artists often take common ideas or questions and shine them up a bit until they appear new. They provide new perspectives by decentering what’s accepted and focusing on the margins.
This is simply my platform for getting curious and fleshing out my fragmented ideas. I write about how my queerness informs my work as an artist and arts administrator.
Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash. There’s a lot that I’m learning at this time in my life, as with all times of lives (lol wut?), but one persistent lesson I’m running into is the importance of discerning between others’ negativity and my own self-worth. Someone threw me a few comments a while ago that keep buzzing around my head: “Other people have problems with you,” (who?? What can I do to stop bothering these mysterious people?) and “we never sayContinue reading “Natural Shine”
Ouf, what a change! I’ve been spending some time each weekend blocking out my “ideal week”: categorizing the hours in each day so that I know where to direct my focus. I start with some casual “coffee time” every morning, for about an hour, where I drink coffee and do whatever creative stuff I want. These days that means watching YouTube or reading a novel. Nothin’ fancy, but it gives me some time to wake up. Then IContinue reading “Time Blocking”
What is creativity to you? I’m partial to how we discussed it in many of our university drama classes: creativity as innovation; finding new ways of unpacking the human condition. I also think creativity is specifically the process of finding new ways of understanding each other. And we can’t truly get to know one other unless we’re willing to be vulnerable and step outside our comfort zones. In that sense, creativity necessitates a level of personal risk. StretchingContinue reading “Creativity Is…”
I’ve recently come across the work of Cal Newport. While I haven’t read any of his books, I’m especially drawn to So Good They Can’t Ignore You, his argument that it’s how we work rather than why we work that leads to fulfillment. Even reading the book’s description has made me rethink a few things. Of course I’m passionate about directing theatre, but I’ve yet to commit to pursuing it as a full time job. I’ve been workingContinue reading “Passion vs. Skills”
One of these days I’ll figure out how to envelop my fascination with technology within my passion for creation, instead of the other way around. For now my desire to create is often superseded by a near-addiction to checking my phone. Or watching the 7,654,865 YouTube videos about the MacBook M1 chip. Also this title is a Star Wars reference and I’ve never seen Star Wars. Call me a fake.
One of the beautiful things about writing these posts (almost) every day is that I’m discovering what I want to say as an artist. It’s not as if I already have something to say and am writing to communicate it… it’s that the act of confronting a blank page (or screen) is helping me develop something to say. I find it’s important to remind myself that I don’t need to reach some unspecified level of brilliance in orderContinue reading “Find What to Say By Starting”
I sometimes worry that the breadth of material I’m consuming on a day-to-day basis is one of many horrible symptoms of living in a distraction-filled world, and that as a result I’m now lacking the ability to focus my attention on what matters. OK so that’s less of a worry than it is a reality, but there’s also a message there somewhere. It’s fine to be interested in a variety of topics. In fact, the more we takeContinue reading “Organizing the Interesting Bits”
Artists are people with something to say. And it often takes guts to speak up. An unwavering confidence in your story, in what you bring to the table, is necessary. We have to have an almost delusional level of conviction to take the risks needed to make an impact.
I started decentre with what I thought was a clear intention to help queer artists in Atlantic Canada. But the more I work on it, the more I feel the project shifting. I’m sure it’s clear that this blog is more of a personal blog than anything: I don’t purport to be an expert on queer art, but I can certainly try to articulate what it is I’m doing as a queer artist. And the more of theseContinue reading “The More We Discover”
On mornings when I wake up remembering that vague bit of information about an anonymous group of people not liking my behaviour, I inevitably begin to spiral. “Who? What did I do? How can I fix it? Why can’t they tell me? Who are they? What did I do? How can I fix it?” And yet I know logically that in a life of perusing personal goals we’re all bound to step on someone else’s toes. No oneContinue reading “Being Despised”
The words pouring out are profoundly ugly. And yet they’re words carrying some sort of meaning. That’s a start. I try to find time for stream of consciousness writing as often as possible. Just write, y’all, with no judgment and no expectations. Weird stuff. It helps.
One of the many reasons I’ve left social media, or at least severely limited my use of it, is the ever-increasing pressure to have an opinion. Not only to have an opinion, but to have the right one. I’ve learned the hard way that in a heated and divided world, complicated emotions can easily be misconstrued. But despite that risk, if you don’t act fast and make some sort of statement about injustices, you can quickly become aContinue reading “Make a Statement Or Else”
Many seem to be resistant to centring themselves in their own work. I find I write about myself all the time. In fact, during my undergrad, a group of close friends rewrote the lyrics of “You’re So Vain” to “You’re So Luke.” I thought it portrayed me fairly well. I don’t think it’s selfish to write about yourself if it’s done correctly. Glennon Doyle talks about the difference between diary and memoir: if you are just writing toContinue reading “Me Me Me”
One of the things I’m working on during the pandemic is improving my vocabulary. I find when I’m trying to communicate to a group I’m not as articulate as I’d like to be because I’m constantly overthinking my word choices and worrying that they’re too boring or ineffective. Writing on a computer is another thing entirely because of course I always have a thesaurus open in another tab. As I’m reading the New Yorker I’m writing down theContinue reading “Vocabulary”
One of the keys to happiness, or at least contentment, in my opinion, is boundaries. Boundaries are clear delineations of what is and is not OK. In my experience, people (myself included) tend to struggle with the “clear” bit. We all have our ideas of what is needed and what isn’t; what counts as productive work and what doesn’t. The more we can be clear about both of those sides in ourselves, the healthier relationships we’ll have. WhenContinue reading “Forgive Me But, Um, No.”
Much like many queer characters in the current canon, queer work often dies too soon. I’m thinking of a play I directed and dramaturged in 2018 called Re:Construct. It’s a beautiful play about growth from a trans perspective, and it had a successful run at the Ottawa Fringe. But it could go much further. And perhaps someday it will! I’d like the work I do here on decentre to help expand the lifespan of queer-focused art. Not sureContinue reading “Longer Lifespan”
When I was around ten or eleven, I wrote a song that had the following lyric: They say a broken heart can mend When time kicks in the pain will end But how long does it take, For time to come? Heavy. A bit too saccharine for me, even now. But I think about it whenever I feel my anger rising: whenever the iconoclast in me perks up and wants to protest the injustices, however small or unintendedContinue reading “When Time Kicks In”
Let’s not forget, in this relatively short blip of time when humans aren’t gathering to experience live theatre, the powerful effect that the art form has on our communities. Theatre encourages empathy by acting as a playground for emotions. In that room, together, we put ourselves in different shoes. As a group, we’re imagining what our lives would be like if we ourselves experienced the stories presented on stage. We feel beautiful sparks of connection when those aroundContinue reading “Theatre: An Empathy Playground”
Marginalized people face a disproportionate amount of forced introspective work: the desperate search for purpose, or an innate “goodness”, that will counterbalance the shaming we face from those in power. After swimming through oceans of ignorance and deeply engrained biases, we’re often left dripping with diffidence. Maybe if I work harder at articulating my personal experiences, phrasing them in ways that those who’ve never faced adversity can understand, then those blessed with better fortune will say “Oh, IContinue reading “Standards of Lifting”
Gender reveal parties do nothing but reveal the close-mindedness of the parents. Sure, you might get some “woke” parents who say “But you’re making a big deal out of nothing! Stop getting offended! I don’t care if my baby grows up questioning their gender! They can be a radish plant for all I care! I just wanna celebrate!” And to the lazy, less compassionate minds, that’s a good argument. But the fact is, a gender reveal party isContinue reading “Gender Reveal Parties”