Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Material Voice

























Last night I got the key to a new work - it doesn't have a title just yet. It has to do with the intersections between now & the (imagined) time frame extending from 1832 & 1934. My (imaginary - I never met them) grandparents & two other voices, Pete & Charles - who enter the story in slavery - are the 4 quarters of storytelling that I'm going to zone in on.

For now, just to celebrate making a (big) commitment, I'm posting a photo of the document that sealed the deal - and the existence of which is a total mystery of me (HOW could I NOT have remembered seeing this?) - a family copy of a ballad, "The Broken Token" - dated 1923. The "thing" I'm imagining is tethered to certain objects - and this is one of those. Another is my grandfather's tool box - with the tools he used in lathe work and finish carpentry - like this plane.

His name was Daniel Dutton too! And he is (was?) something of a mystery....

11 comments:

Cathy said...

Dan, what an amazing find! And the toolbox, too.

I'm thrilled that you're feeling inspired about a new project.

Dan Dutton said...

Well you know I've been mulling this one for some time now - but finding the object of the text sealed it and made the concept possible... I think part of my block was that I kept envisioning "the thing" as a fantasy novel (and there may be one, but it there is, it will just be a part of the whole phenom.) - like a cross between The Lord of the Rings & Remembrance of Things Past. Not an especially inviting way to spend a decade or so.
But the actual piece is (ha! WILL BE...) much more fluid & with a more interactive structure - it may be an oral poem - or cluster of poems - that hover around certain objects - nodes of reality that connect fantasy to matter. OH LORDY - I can't describe it now, but I can feel the way forward.
In a way it is an ethnological study - but in another way it is simply storytelling & basic theater.

The difference is commitment.

The other thing I've realized is that I NEEDED 6 months after The Faun to get this to open. It's a big portal! My mind needed clearing, & the clearing only came from simmering the crusts off with the steam generated by frustration. Why I didn't realize this I don't know ~ I sang very explicitly about this particular phenomena in The Road. I'm a dolt - it's the only way I survive.

Well, that, a brew and frigid brownie.

Cathy said...

I'm a dolt - it's the only way I survive.

But you're OUR dolt.

Dan Dutton said...

Aw shucks!

Apifera Farm said...

Inspiration! Yes. Yea. Hoof stomping from our end...

Apifera Farm said...

I always think of a gallery show, or finishing some bigger project, like the Faun, is a birth, that had months of gestation. You have the baby, and you need to refill again.

Dan Dutton said...

Well I'm filled apparently, I wouldn't want to speculate on what, at this point. But I am thrilled to begin something new!

Nancy said...

Six months shsix months you deserve some time off, more time. Go on some more trips. Everyone should see SF. To quote Kushner from Angels in America “…this is heaven? it looks like San Francisco!”

Dan Dutton said...

Thanks Nancy! I think I'm ready to start the new work though! The research phase is going to be looooonnnggg for this one...

Pig and Peaches said...

Food, travel and adventure...go go go!
You can bring back your new resources to P&P, we need a few good SF memories. and besides, it is a fantastic city. You should see Muir Woods and Napa and Berkley and Chinatown and Nob Hill and Golden Gate Bridge and and and

Nancy said...

and they even have a Japan town...fresh crab from Fisherman's Wharf...fresh sourdough bread...it is your kind of place, with plenty of ghost to research.