What’s on [My] Mind?

view all posts by Christa Forster

Here are the first and third person pov descriptions of the project I’m bringing to our PBRA course.

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I am creating and performing six monologues that investigate race, identity, relationship and annexation, (considered primarily through skin color, names, blood, kinship and war). I explore how these things conspire to determine a person’s (a family’s, a nation’s) fate. Primarily a writer, performer and classroom teacher, my expertise lies in foolscap and literature, pens, pencils and keyboards, reading, writing, revising, editing, managing and mentoring. I’m making these monologues to explore  how my personal experience — specifically,  being born into a historically significant, multi-racial family which presents as white, or “passes” — means beyond my immediate sphere of existence.

Forster creates and performs six original, linked monologues investigating how race, identity, relationship and annexation conspire to determine a person’s, a family’s, a nation’s fate. Writing and presenting in a multiplicity of forms and formats, Forster explores how being born into a historically significant, multi-racial family, one that presents as white — or “passes” — shapes her imagination and her reality and, by extension, the imagination and reality of the worlds she has inhabited and the ones she currently inhabits.

This project — What’s on [My] Mind? — is being funded by the Houston Arts Alliance. This year, I almost missed the grant deadline because of work and family responsibilities, but, at the last minute, I prevailed in meeting the deadline (deadlines are awesome tools!).  The question “What’s on [My] Mind?” was  born while I was writing the grant app. I had been thinking about how social media (notably FB) was affecting me unconsciously. The title alludes to that ubiquitous question asked in grayscale in the “Update Status” box.

I’m uncomfortable saying what’s on my mind in this forum; the grayscale question always feels both formidable and breezy to me. Do my “friends” really want to know that apocalypse, racial violence, annexation, identity, climate change are on my mind (often)?

Also, when everything that I think is compressed within my “friends’” feeds, my thoughts get flattened between the inane (my dog has fleas) to the insane (my dog speaks Hungarian to me). I’m not sure how I feel about this phenomena.

The fact that these updates are so transitory helps me understand how much my ideas are weighing me down, how connected to my physicality they are. 

Let them go — my thoughts — I think; you will feel lighter, Christa. But just “posting” my ideas in FB doesn’t feel like the right place to let them go; and besides, I don’t even know what I really think about these things yet — it’s the creating that will show me what I think.

How can I know what I think until I see what I say.

— from E.M. Forster in Aspects of the Novel

And from experience I know that it’s the not-knowing, the mystery in the middle of my questions, that I’m truly after.

Something about FB and my feelings about posting ideas in FB reminds me of the modernist conflict as reflected in the following lines from T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.
and
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.
Ciao, for now.

 

 

 

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