It’s been a big month of writing, and with all the self-reflection going on I’ve been reminded recently about the last time I was flat-out writing and self reflecting on everything going on: writing “Cosmic Nomad” while I was living and working in Melbourne during 2015.
Truth be told in 2014 I was completely done with comedy shows. I was less than happy with how “Becoming Martian” had turned out, being too dry, impersonal, and simply not funny enough. I was in the final stages of the world tour of “Becoming Martian”, travelling around Australia talking about using comedy to share space science but already committed to personally moving away from stand-up, and had been invited to speak and run a workshop at the National Young Writer’s Festival – the last official stop of the tour and one I’ve written about before .
And inevitably I met another comedian and fell madly in love with her.
She was (is) extraordinarily funny and had been doing stand up for 4 years at that point, but hadn’t been brave enough to venture into doing a solo show of her own. In the process of talking her into it and then helping her develop her debut show, I realised I still had another show left to perform myself.
Convincing her to write a solo show may have convinced me to write another show, but the show idea you start with is never even close to the one you first perform, and it’s radically different again to the one you’re performing after the 10th show. The journal entry below captures an especially interesting point in the development of “Cosmic Nomad”: When I knew I had many of the core messages I wanted to share, but I was still desperately hanging onto the relationship that had catalysed writing the show months after we both knew it was dead.
The end wouldn’t come properly till a few months later, but when it finally did the writing of the show leaped ahead. Where the excitement of the start of the relationship had given way to uncertainty and despair (around the time this journal entry was made), all the colour, joy and laughter poured back in my life slowly over the weeks after the break-up and fed directly into the show – breaking out of the relationship meant I was free to pour my heart into the show instead of trying to resuscitate a relationship.
My very first show “Apocalypse Meow” was written after straight after I ended arguably the most turbulent relationship I’ve ever had, and “Cosmic Nomad” really became it’s own show after the 2nd most turbulent relationship I’ve ever had. In both cases I was itching to leap out into the unknown on a new emotional adventure, but the relationships were the anchors I needed to cut free to embrace what was ahead.
Those two relationships really stand-out in my life for all the wrong reasons, but the shows that were created after them are arguably the most honest, heartbreaking and hilarious pieces of comedy storytelling I’ve ever created – I’m really glad in this journal entry I’ve captured that moment where you’re hard pulling against the anchor but haven’t realised you need to cut in free.
Day 10,922 (continued) Sunday 12/7/2015
Cosmic Nomad is about evolution and the spiral of life towards good. Each of us has a choice: we can decide that life is not improving and things aren’t as good as they [were] before. We can choose to be apathetic, and declare that nothing ever really changes for the better or the worse. Or we can choose to believe life is always getting better. Circumstances dip & peak, yes. But as we live and experience life, as we learn from the events of our lives, and explore more of who we are each time, we make the changes and drive a little closer to what fulfills us.
It’s vital not to be too hard on ourselves too. By making mistakes, then learning from them, we can shape ourselves into who we want to be. Sure, we forget and have to experience some of the same traumas again. But this is the universe testing to see if we learnt in the first place – if we really want what is being offered. Every day is an opportunity to create & love – these acts put [us] a little closer to the flow of the universe. True joy comes from non-resistance though: creating & loving effortlessly with the flow of the universe. Following the breadcrumbs not to find a prize, but for the joy of following breadcrumbs. For the joy experienced from the doing, from the flow state where you lose yourself in the symbiotic act of creation & experience.
So much of what you’re feeling right now is forced – pushed through by energies that you’ve allowed in through poor psychological discipline. Clear the slate, cut away your possessions & attachments, start again. Reduce your “needs”, as they aren’t real. Instead, open yourself to the opportunities presented by the universe, and act in the service & love for others. Be an idea generating machine, share those ideas, then release them. Always be creating & destroying. Build it, break it. Nothing is forever, so be a catalyst for change. Help create the world you envision, and then encourage its evolution on to something else.
Storytelling is a way for summarising & learning from our mistakes – from reframing our actions to share with others. To engage the full emotional spectrum and be more fully ourselves. To evolve into ourselves.
Moving to Melbourne has been a huge evolution, but it’s also been a catalyst for [a] still greater evolution that is yet to come. Right now, you have too many different priorities, which have encroached on your first priority of accelerating & championing space exploration. To set yourself right, you need to focus on making yourself the person you want to be – to learn, eat, exercise, & work to become your vision of an astronaut. To be tough, fit, intelligent & wise; but also unexpected, funny, and a little bit of a troublemaker. A LOT of a troublemaker. To be disruptive to “traditional” ways of thinking, to question establishment without trying to pull it down, and catalyse change… because it always gets better. Be fluid, be impossible to pin down. Be surprising, be challenging, and be loving. But above all, be yourself to serve the highest & best interests of the universe.