Yes, this post is late. I got back from Readercon on Saturday night, and proceeded straight from the airport to Postscript, the Toronto Fringe patio/general hangout area. Then we had our final show Sunday afternoon, followed by one last night of Fringing.
Monday was mostly naps and lounging, to be honest.
But here we are! Fringe and Readercon both behind us! It’s an awful lot of emotion for any one blog post, but I do want to say this:
I am so very, very lucky in my friends and communities.
Fringe first: I couldn’t believe the support given to Six Stories, Told at Night. From the GoFundMe to the general logistical assistance, from everyone who came out to see the show (and some of you travelled a long way, I know!) and everyone who held our hands and told us that everything would be Okay—we’ve been overwhelmed with your kindness.
So thank you. Truly, sincerely, deeply—thank you.
And then I went to Readercon, where I caught up with wonderful old friends, met amazing new ones, and plunged headfirst into insightful, well-organized programming. Again, I felt swaddled with kindness and care. The writing and theatre communities share a lot of similarities ; this support is certainly one of them.
You’re all awesome. That’s my point here.
Now, more general updates: there are still some GoFundMe rewards to deliver! Specifically, the Super Secret Magic Seventh Story and Coxwood 2.0. What’s going on there?
The seventh story is mostly figured out (in my head, at least). We have a plan for recording it. I just need to write it. Because my 2018 is ridiculous, I have a major deadline on August 1st. I’m trying to write this story alongside that work, but it may need to wait just a few more weeks. But it is definitely on my radar.
Coxwood 2.0 is also on my radar, never fear! It’s going to be later in the year, though. Once the ridiculousness of summer dies down, I’ll be reaching out to actors and seeing what sort of cast we can put together. A gentle reminder that it won’t be as long as Season One…but I have some ideas percolating. It’s gonna happen. Don’t fret.
That’s it for now, I think. Blythe and I have some loose ends to tie up and some plans to bash out. No rest for the wicked, after all.
But we are really, really happy. That’s my other point. The Toronto Fringe has been the most challenging experience of my creative life—but also the most rewarding. I am so incredibly proud of our scrappy underdog play. The reviews speak for themselves!
Originally a podcast drama, this adaptation makes rollicking, enjoyable show…it’s clear that Bryski is a storyteller to watch. (NOW Magazine, NNNN review)
A love letter to broken hearts and letting go, to ambiguity and formation, this is a rich, complex play that had many an audience member discretely dabbing at tears. (Mooney on Theatre, “Rave Review”)
The folding paths through which the play presents itself are prevented from getting too murky or confusing through the anchor of the intensely realized, warts and all friendship portrayed by the leads, Blythe Haynes and Alexandra Milne. The heart of an almost delicately intricate, multi-narrative sequence remains throughout the emotional ties between two young women… (My Entertainment World)
Of course, none of that would be possible without amazing people. In addition to the love from our community, we are so grateful for the hard work, dedication, and professionalism shown by staff and volunteers at the Toronto Fringe and Theatre Passe Muraille. We literally couldn’t do it without you!
And there’s our creative team: cast, crew, and everyone who helped along the way. You gave your hearts and souls to this story, and we couldn’t be more thankful.
And of course, my creative partner-in-crime, who’s been with Six Stories from the beginning.
In my head, I see Six Stories as a scruffy little waif who runs around punching things. We can’t wait to see where the journey takes us next.
What I’m Listening To This Week
A little Lord of the Rings music. I’ll be moving to a hobbit hole soon, so it only seems fitting!
SIX STORIES, TOLD AT NIGHT opens this Thursday. That doesn’t seem entirely real.
But the show’s in great shape. Right now, it sits at a comfortable eight minutes below the time cut-off. The costumes look amazing. The set’s built. We’ve found all the props. We’ve run the sound/lighting cues at Theatre Passe Muraille – and the venue managers have greenlighted all of our fight scenes and intimacy choreography.
And ohhhhh, my friends. That moment. That moment, when the theatre was still in blackout, and everything was still—that moment when the first notes of the Six Stories theme played over TPM’s sound system—
It was freaking awesome.
So what I’m saying is, we’re ready. We’re so ready.
Why am I nervous?
Because it feels like stepping off a cliff, I guess. It’s here, it’s really happening, people are really coming to see our show. This one story made of many stories that grew from scratches in a notebook to…all of this.
But anyway. There’s a podcast coming on Wednesday, so I don’t want to repeat myself too much. For now…
Here’s the link for tickets. And also, our schedule:
Thanks, everyone. Your support means the world to us.
What I’m Listening to this Week
The Ralph Vaughan Williams streak continues, this time with “Five Variants of ‘Dives and Lazarus.’” I love the richly bowing strings, the way it sometimes feels nearly like Elgar…
Hey pals! It’s the end of June, and you know what that means!
Obligatory birthday post!
Yes, yes, my birthday isn’t until Thursday (Turning 27! Whoo!). But next Monday brings us awfully close to the Toronto Fringe, so I figured I’d squeeze the birthday philosophizing in today.
So I’m going to be honest. This is a time of intense transition and transformation. Home, work, life -everything has felt the effects. My solid ground has turned to shifting sands, and quite frankly, it’s terrifying.
You see, I’m the kind of person that set down roots. Deep roots, intense roots. I build routines and systems. When those get disrupted – when I’m uprooted, when the patterns change – I feel terribly discombobulated. It’s almost like I use those roots and routines to anchor myself. When too much changes too rapidly, it feels like I’ve been cut loose on endless ocean.It feels like drowning.
Perhaps that’s an apt metaphor. Look at the symbolism water carries with it. Water is chaos, the “formless deep.” Water is death.
Water is also a womb, All life springs from the ocean. If we’re going to broaden the metaphor, mythology is filled with a descent to the underworld – or the ocean’s darkest places – followed by death and rebirth. From Inanna to Jonah, for the true self to be born, death must happen first.
As wiser people than me have said, transformation is a kind of death.
So much talk of death for a birthday post! But that’s where stories and mythologies are useful. They give form and the illusion of narrative structure to a universe that has little of either.
(To be clear: we’re only discussing death on a metaphorical/archetypal level here.)
Looking at my past birthday posts, there’s a constant refrain. I didn’t feel fully-formed. I knew something was missing. Something was immature, unfinished. I knew I wasn’t yet myself, not entirely. It was a caterpillar phase, I guess.
And now –
Now, I think this is the formless deep. And that word “formless” strikes me pretty hard– life certainly feels formless at the minute! This is the chrysalis, the underworld, the chaos and destruction at the end of a long cycle of stability.
But from all of that…from all of that, new life always springs. As uncomfortable as transition is, I really do think it’s bringing me closer to the person I really am. And I think the lessons from earlier in my twenties have laid a solid foundation for finding that KT. De profundis, right? “Out of the depths” has always been a personal motto of sorts.Now we see it in action!
I’m still hopeful about the year ahead. When I’m not fretting, I’m actually quite excited. We’re getting closer to…to whatever it is, this thing on the horizon. A new chapter is starting. We just have to get there.
What I’m Listening to this Week
Choir gives me many things…and I greatly appreciate the music it brings me. The right piece tends to find me at the right time. My voice does not fit spirituals easily, but it is some of the most comforting and viscerally emotional music I’ve heard.
I ran into an old friend yesterday:
There’s been a street festival running all weekend. And it’s a true neighbourhood street festival: the kind where Italian grandmas pull passerby into their dancing and magicians pull quarters from kids’ ears. The secondhand bookstore had its one-dollar boxes out – and there, staring at me, was Old Bear.
I stopped dead. The plot eluded me (as it turns out, the toys rescue Old Bear from his attic seclusion), but the characters popped up, vivid as they were in childhood.
Old Bear. Little Bear. Bramwell Brown. Rabbit. Duck.
I hesitated for the briefest moment – and then I bought it. You see, I have a belief about secondhand bookstores. They help the right books find you at the right time. You can’t always force it. And when they’re sending you a message, it’s best not to ignore it.
So now I’m reunited with a book I haven’t seen in at least twenty years. Partly, I just wanted it in my life again. And partly, I’m storing it for some future child – maybe my own, maybe a niece or nephew, maybe a friend’s child. “Look,” the instinct runs. “Look, this book held magic for me – maybe it will for you, too.”
Some magic is a private thing. Some magic yearns to be shared. Childhood books definitely belong in the latter camp, at least for me.
I got another book as well. This one wasn’t in the festival bins. It was inside, along the wall of fantastika. My heart leaped to see it. (This bookstore generally has a thorough collection of Andrée Norton, Robert Silverberg, A.E. van Vogt, and others of that vintage, but slightly less fantasy.)
Nineteenth century British fantasy:
Same message, same instinct. The right book at the right time, the perfect counterweight to my ongoing Southern Ontario Gothic ponderings.
Except it wasn’t a loonie. It was $25. Which – there’s a few upcoming books I want sooner than the library can get them. Trail of Lightning, European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman, A Cathedral of Myth and Bone…
So I put it back on the shelf, looked at the Tolkien editions beside it, and then circled around again. But it’s best not to ignore a bookstore’s message. At last, I took a deep breath and approached the counter.
“Great stuff in here,” the bookseller said.
“Yeah, for sure. It’s got Goblin Market.”
“It’s twenty-five dollars…” He hesitated. “Actually, today, it’s eighteen.”
Some magic yearns to be shared. Stepping back into the sunlight and the festival, I felt lighter. Sometimes, it is important to remember that such magic exists. And our instinct to spread it gives hope indeed.
What I’m Listening To This Week
Still digging the Holst and Vaughan Williams. This week it’s been “I Love My Love,” which has a very catchy melody and chilling lyrics. It’s one of those folk songs that’s a story set to music. The treble echoes around 1:30 and 3:30 are particularly haunting.
Sorry pals, everything is ridiculous right now. Sturm und drang! Sound and fury! Madness and chaos!
Okay, that’s perhaps a little dramatic. But over the next three days, I am…
Finishing a major writing project!
I’m aiming to complete the first draft of my interactive fiction novel for Choice of Games either today or tomorrow. It’s running about 115k in total. You can become a knight…riding a dinosaur!
Good fun, but I shall be relieved to have it off my plate for now, because…
A CANTICLE OF LIGHT opens on May 30th!
Dress rehearsal tonight, opening the day after tomorrow! The cast and crew have worked extremely hard, and I’m so incredibly proud of them. I can’t wait to see this Canadian Gothic piece live onstage!
Still need your tickets? Buy them here!
“Six Stories: Road to the Fringe” drops on May 30th!
Because we’re really good at planning! Just kidding, just kidding, I pulled out my calendar and worked out a whole release schedule for the SIX STORIES companion podcast. Turns out this was the best day. It’s almost poetic, the way these two plays have stayed in lockstep…
Anyway, interviews, behind-the-scenes chatter, and more faerie tale goodness coming your way soon. It’s dropping right into the preexisting “Six Stories, Told at Night” feed. Subscribe here (if you haven’t already)!
Wait. Was this a post?
Ah, let’s say it was. To dinosaurs!
What I’m Listening To This Week
When you need something high energy and emotional, and also a reminder that it’ll be okay in the end…
So my decision to scale back the dayjob?
It was a good one. The next two months are looming ahead a particularly dense forest. We’ll get through just fine – we know all the wolves by name – there’s just a lot of brambles waiting to snag on the way.
But that’s pretty par for the course. I’m hunkering down; I can feel the reptilian part of my brain kicking in and triaging things.
(If I’m slow to respond to things, my apologies.)
And I’m relying on old hacks. Cooking in batches to eat through the week; working on the train (that’s where I’m writing this post!); prioritising choir, so I have some decompression and social time.
And then there’s the clothing.
This is a weird one. We’ve all seen the cartoons about freelancers, yes? Pyjama-clad, food-spattered, wild-haired?
I can’t do it. Not because I take any particular interest in clothing, but because I use it to shift between modes. The dayjob is business casual – for me, that’s usually dress pants and a button-up or cardigan. In an ideal world, I’d add oxfords, but the gravel roads eat them.
So that works through the day. And then the moment I get home…
It’s the writer outfit of tee-shirt and jeans. Physically changing what I’m wearing helps transition my brain from one sphere of my life to the other. It’s a bit doing mask work in theatre. Very subtly, mostly unconsciously, the face beneath the mask starts to assume the same expression.
The inside starts to mimic the outside. That’s really the heart of it. That’s why I fully dress and wear makeup even when I know I’ll be home all day writing. It’s a ritual; prepping the outside preps the inside as well.
Of course – as with everything in creative fields – it totally depends on the individual. If writing in pyjamas works for you, rock on with your bad self.
For me, I just need a way to navigate the different areas of my life. Especially right now, with so many threads interweaving! (At the fundraiser for CANTICLE, I went with my convention wear: jeans and blazer, tee underneath. It got me into the right headspace – and I felt like me.)
What about you? What are your sartorial preferences?
What I’m Listening To This Week
I’ve been drafting hard and fast, so I’m living with a lot of long instrumental pieces. Mostly early twentieth century. I’ve quite enjoyed exploring the works of Rimsky-Korsakov, a Russian composer. This one is a new favourite for obvious reasons. 😊
I’ve been getting an interesting question lately, as a general trend. And it’s a question that’s very difficult to answer.
“How long did it take you to write that?”
It leaves me scrambling because I’m never sure what they mean. Or more accurately, what they think they mean. Is it just the actual sitting-and-typing draft work? Or are we including outlining and research? Does editing time count? The early rambling noodling I do with every project? Or does the clock start the moment the idea sparked in my brain?
For me, at least, they’re all different answers. Generally, I say something like, “Writing the first draft took X time, but I’ve been thinking about it since Y.”
But even then, I need to do some personal archaeology.
Take A CANTICLE OF LIGHT. One of those “On This Day” posts appeared on my Facebook this evening. My former housemate’s cat lies on two whiteboards that pretty clearly show CANTICLE ponderings.
The photo is dated May 2016. Except then I put the play aside for a few months. It ended up being a NaNoWriMo project of sorts—I banged the first draft out in about five weeks. Which sounds pretty quick, but again, it’d been bouncing around my skull for ages.
What’s the right answer? Very few people want to hear about skull-bouncing time.
Besides, that’s not even counting editing. As far as I remember, I had a table read in February 2017. I forget when Missed Metaphor offered to produce it, but it must have been summertime, because I do remember a) wearing shorts, and b) walking home through a warm, sticky night.
Then things got busy, so I put edits on hold. The final draft got finished around December.
So was it five weeks to write? Was it a year? Was it a year of editing even though I took months off to deal with other projects?
But here’s the kicker. I remember sharing very, very early CANTICLE thoughts in 2014. One character had a different name, the ages were different, and the plot wouldn’t have worked—but it was still CANTICLE, in zygote form.
Really, all my projects are like this. Quick drafting times, really long gestations.
And all of those phases are “writing.” The long periods between editing where the story reshapes itself in the dark. The white-hot rush of fingers on keys. The sporadic poking at outlines and characters.
Sitting on the bus, musing about a boy with two sisters.
It’s similar to the museum, where visitors look at a saddle or a tin lantern or a dress and ask, “How long does that take?” I mean, I get it. It’s an easy hook in. A yardstick. It’s a way to quantify something overwhelming, and to relate it to one’s own experiences.
But the honest (if frustrating answer) is, “As long as it needs.”
How very true, for all our arts.
Also, while we are here: CANTICLE and SIX STORIES updates!
SIX STORIES has begun rehearsals and now we’re sourcing props, costumes, and set. The landing outside my apartment has become an impromptu theatre storage space.
CANTICLE’s fundraiser was a delightful evening! Great talent, great people, great fun! Tickets are available to purchase here! (We run May 30th – June 2nd.) Next stop: the Box Theatre!
What I’m Listening To This Week
You know I keep it honest here. When things get particularly stressful, I bust out the Anglican chants. The repetitious tunes help calm the squirrel-brain—it’s my comfort music!
Whoa! Here we are, back on the blog! It’s not Monday—what gives?
Our GoFundMe campaign for Six Stories, Told at Night wrapped at midnight, and a Facebook post wasn’t going to cut it!
When last we saw our plucky co-producers, they had tweaked the campaign after blowing past the initial goal on the first day.
“Well, we were going to offer a vlog,” quoth I. “And I can write a seventh story; I’ve got some ideas. And…oh man, okay. What about…Coxwood Season Two?”
“Are you sure?”
“We’ll set a ridiculous target,” I said, all confidence. “We’ll never make it.”
And so the campaign trucked along. It was wonderful! Blythe and I spent a very pleasant week feeling warm fuzzies, writing limericks, and recording messages for donors (if anyone out there is Fringing It Up, drop me a line when you’ve decided what you’d like Blythe to record for you!).
We closed Monday at $730. “Cool, cool,” I said, “we’ll see how far we can get by Wednesday night.”
Tuesday passed. We had enough to cover the admin/festival expenses, plus a chunk of production.
“What if you make it to $1500?” a friend asked.
“We won’t,” I replied.
“I think we’ll hit $1000,” I said, coming home on the subway. “I’ve got a good feeling.”.
On arriving home, I made our final “ZOMG last few hours!!!” post. Then I sat back, ready to relax into a job well done. The box office would probably still take a hit, but not a huge one. If we were careful, we could probably manage pretty good shares when it came time to divvy up the takings…
Incredibly, you guys carried us to our ultimate goal.
We got very excited:
And then the lurking migraine I’d been fighting burst forth, I threw up, and we called it a night.
But now it is morning! So—we made our ultimate stretch goal. What does this mean?
For SIX STORIES:
We can have a kickass show. There are festival/administrative expenses associated with the Fringe. Those are covered. Set, design elements, costumes, signage, programs, handbills/buttons…all that just got so much easier. We’re entering Fringe from a strong position. A lot more is within our grasp!
And of course, compensating our cast and crew is a massive priority. This is why this campaign has meant so much to us—we wanted to give as much box office to them as possible. From the entire “Six Stories” team, THANK YOU.
You’ve unlocked everything, you wonderful people!
ROAD TO THE FRINGE PODCAST!
Once this blog posts, I’m pulling out the calendar to figure out a release schedule. Get ready for interviews, chatter, shenanigans, and rehearsal snippets!
Can’t make it to Toronto? We’ve got you covered! Meet our fab cast and crew, see bits of rehearsals and design elements, and make the leap with us from pure audio to live theatre!
I’ve been noodling some ideas. I definitely know the direction I want to go in. And oh…oh, I think it’ll be so cool. For this, I’ve got to consult with the team a little. I’ll keep you all posted.
COXWOOD SEASON TWO!
I’m gonna admit, I didn’t expect to make it to the ultimate goal. But we did! So—back to Coxwood for a second mini-season! I’m not entirely sure how many episodes it will be, but I’ll be taking a look at this after Fringe finishes in mid-July.
If we can release it by the end of 2018, amazing! As always, I’ll keep you posted.
Thank you, everyone. Seriously, from both of us—thank you, thank you, thank you. We are stunned that you believe in our show like this. We’ve spent the last fortnight feeling incredibly humbled and loved.
And now the work and fun begins! Our first production meeting and rehearsal is Friday. We can’t wait to get started!
KT and Blythe
What I’m Listening To Today