Tomorrow, When I Grow Up

voice and fixed media, 2017

Somewhere between watching the whole day pass from under the covers, the future a thing that spits the pause button out of my throat; between rich dreams that I am wading through, gripping whole handfuls, watching them pour between my fingers, a few pocked pearls rolled by my burning palms; between the steps that push me forward, and backward, and forward again, progress built with footsteps built with words that walk their plosives and fricatives and sibilance, delicately, over the steps of the tips of my teeth.

Listen

Context

This piece will eventually be a three-movement expression of the experience of social/mental health issues; right now it's a work-in-progress.

The first movement, "the empties," is about lying, though the sound of it shares a lot in common with anxiety and depression (unsuprising, given how the first will tend to generate the second). At the time I started on it, I was exiting and (badly) recovering from a period of my life where I was lying to everyone I cared about. Each person had slightly different or incomplete information on where I was, or who I was with, or what I was doing, or how I was feeling, and the end result was almost self-abrasive rather than self-destructive. Lying as a means of self-defense started to erode my sense of self; the person I was to other people was becoming this identity I had very carefully sanded down. Interestingly, since my explanation of the inspiration of this movement to other people is never complete (yes, dear reader, even to you), only half of the truth comes out in performing it or talking about it. The piece becomes its own lie.

Aurally, "the empties" speaks for itself well enough. The interaction between the performer and the tape are clear, but the tape part has changed a lot over time. Since I have to be anxious to perform it well, remembering the order of events does me no favors; this frequently means altering the timing/amount of phrases/beeps inbetween soundcheck and performance. Yet, the number of revisions it's gone through since September 2017 have been just as much compositional as they've been for performance reasons. It's no longer the brutalist expression of a single sentence that it started as.

Written by Becky on Monday February 26, 2018

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