Genius Management & Surfing Vietnam

April 7, 2009

(This is for all of you who doubt your genius. It is the text sent to the artists and crew of Surfing Vietnam, a show I produced and premiered in London, Canada on April 1, 2009.)

The phrase I keep hearing in my head, yes now I’m hearing voices, is it’s good to be successful but it’s better to be significant. Great, I sound like a fortune cookie when what I want to do is praise you, your talents, and how easy it was to work with you. You each brought just the right ‘thing’ to the show. I know a couple things about you and I know this to be true. (Look out we’re going from fortune cookies to the Hallmark section, hey wait is that Oprah with a bag of chips?)

There will be days when some of you doubt your talent and never far from that soul destroying monster is it’s cousin ‘why am I even here and what’s the f…ing point’. Read this on that day. All I’ve learned is that I gotta use all that brought me – that means taking everything I have and am and using it to create,  usually opportunities for other people. That’s my thing. And our thing – what matters – is to figure out the thing that you just gotta do. When your gladness meets the world’s deep hunger – you know you are answering the question – not what do you want out of life but what does life want out of you. (indebted to Parker J. Palmer for that concept).

Yea that was definitely Oprah; I can see her eating another skinny cow ice cream bar in the frozen dairy section.

I know something else.  Artists are often wounded souls and it is our scars (god knows I know this) that makes us strong and open and real and absolutely scared of our greatness. Before the show, Jim was pounding his fists in the green room to feel real.  We do what we have to do to stay alive and feel alive. That’s our job as artists. We turn up to our craft even when she’s a bitch. Do you get that? Turning up when your knocked down so low you can’t find the floor never mind get up. I’ve been there. It’s dusty.

I want to give you this little thought because I’m wired and sleep deprived and apparently on a roll. Jim and I have been rehearsing a lot.  I started one of our sessions with this quote  – “Rehearsal is the work, performance is the relaxation’ – Stanislavsky.  That was another free fortune cookie sentiment to set up a scene. I was watching Jim and drifting off. I knew he wasn’t ‘home’ because I was tuning out. In that moment I re-learned the lesson I have to learn over and over again – if you ain’t home ain’t nobody home with you. Power is presence. It’s that simple and that ridiculously difficult.  So…to those of you on the path so less traveled you fell like you are falling down in the dark – start where you are. Figure out what you have to do to call your ‘self’ home. It’s worth the work, the personal work. You slowly get yourself back and a surprising little thing called grace. Some days you’ll actually be able to hold hope against despair, find courage when it feels like it would be simpler to quit and give up. You and I, we are a special tribe of people who see things others don’t see, feel things others don’t feel and make art, music, dance, words where others would go shopping.  I know you know what I mean.

This is so deep I need an oxygen tank. I’m almost out of here – I just wanted to give you something for what you gave. I want you to have this for those days when it’s too hard to be in your own skin.

I believe in an innate force that calls us to give that which we are meant to give; but, because of all the sh#t that happens we lose the connection.  The larvae has no idea what is in store. It just wants what it knew – give me back my caterpillar life. Yet in days it will fly from the vineyards of St. Catherine’s to Mexico one crazy-ass, ziggy, zaggy centimetre at a time. What I forget when I’m lost is I’m not.

A bunch of you are young and far from home some of you are older and just getting your bearings. I count myself in this contingent. This is why I am writing this, for you. After the show I saw Josh, Rich and Jim talking at the back of the room. Of all the moments in the show, that’s the one that mattered to me the most. Josh, I can’t help but be blown away that you AND Rich both went into the Army so you could go to College and study…wait for it everyone…theatre.  Carl Jung would say we have some serious synchronicity going on here.

Over the last three months I have listened to Jim’s portrayal of betrayal. He lost so much; but somehow seeing him talking to you two men, brought it together – if that makes sense. Who knows at this hour.  This I do know, at least in the tiny moments in my life where I actually feel wise (it passes quickly I assure you). I see that the hard times make me whole even if they break me first. I guess that’s my version of telling you to believe in what you got. Jim’s 61.  His book is done. Need I say more? No and thank god for that.

Love – and I mean that,



Are you or your business reaching the fullest potential?

If it is not your genius it is not your job.
Louise B. Karch