(Screenshot from the 2015 documentary Amy, directed by Asif Kapadia)
I did my debut hour at Brighton Fringe last week!
Here's a snapshot of how it went:
I had so much fun performing I Miss Amy Winehouse live, the room was close to full both nights with lovely audiences and, so far, it's been a very satisfying redirection of my energies away from projects that simply weren't working for me.
Even if a one-person show isn't your cuppa, be kind to yourself if your novel / essay collection / (name other creative pursuits) isn't working. Would a change of format channel your energies better, at this moment in time? Is a rest needed? Time away from the desk to experience life and feed that writing?
That's how this show began, frustration with my novel (that's only two chapters long, and has been for a while) and wanting to go beyond the 5 or 10-minute spots I was getting as a stand-up. Now I know I can write and perform a one-hour show (there are lots of cheats, I'm not talking full-on for 60 minutes), and it feels good.
Is there a path away from your main project that will eventually deliver you back to it, renewed? Let yourelf take it, with no self-judgement. No one format is morally superior to the other. Along the journey, you're only getting better and building an audience.
You can do this. Pausing a project is not a failure; even throwing it in the bin, or hiding it in a drawer isn't, because working on it improved your skills and led you closer to what you want to explore. Nothing can take that away from you.
Links of the week
Condolences are not words or acts that will ease the pain (none can) they are a way of communicating that you see it. Maybe that’s why mourning rituals around the world involve the company of others. They bear witness to the unbearable. So when people acknowledge my brother’s passing, no matter what expression they use, the sentiment is like a hand squeezing mine.
From Ayesha A. Siddiqi's stunning exploration of why our griefs cannot be eased or fixed, but need to be witnessed, "Sorry for your loss"
People with aphantasia don’t do as well as others at remembering details of their own lives. It’s possible that recalling our own experiences — known as episodic memory — depends more on the mind’s eye than does remembering facts about the world.
I am obsessed with aphantasia (not seeing images in your mind) and hyperphantasia (seeing incredibly detailed pictures in your imagination; my inner world is more like this) in themselves and in terms of how they affect our memories and our wish to remember or forget. Could read about this all day all day.
"Lockdowns in affluent Western countries were to enforce physical distancing. But here in India, in the densely populated slums and shantytowns, it enforced the opposite—physical compression." The peerless Arundhati Roy on cities as novels, the farmers' protests and why India has suffered so badly during the pandemic.
"‘Depression is living in the past, anxiety is living in the future, and joy is found living in the present.’" A brilliant exploration of radical acceptance, a mindset that has helped me enormously.
What I've been up to
Hear me discuss my show and Amy Winehouse's life with Melita Dennett on Brighton's Radio Reverb
Video from the podcasting panel I was on for the SPA student conference a few weeks ago:
What I'm getting up to
While still at the Etcetera Theatre in Camden, the dates and times for my Camden Fringe performances of I Miss Amy Winehouse have changed: they're now 9:30pm on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th August, and 11:30am on Sunday 29th August. There will be a new ticket link soon! Ignore the old one floating about.
I'm doing standup all over London this summer, including at Fulham Comedy Club, The Grove in Hammersmith and Monkey Business in Camden, will pop dates in here from next week...
The next personal essays masterclass is on 30th June, and there are 5 tickets left:
That’s all from me! Thank you for reading, I’ve been and continue to be Suchandrika Chakrabarti.
I plan to keep this newsletter free, but it does take time to write and curate. If you fancy buying me a Ko-fi I’d be eternally grateful, and will thank you in the next newsletter <3