I'm running a nursery for tiny little pink hairless creative projects.
Throughout my childhood it was my sister who was the nurturing one when it came to taking in orphan creatures. My attention span lasted as long as the pull of the next chapter of my book. I was more interested in the adventures of Dick, George and Timothy the Dog. [Aaah, that George, who was 'almost as good as a boy'. I think I fancied that George. but this is another story]. Miranda, on the other hand, could wake up at hourly intervals throughout the night to feed some see-through pink squidget that couldn't even squawk. The squirrels, the mice, the tiny birds with their stumpy wings. Many of them didn't even last long enough to get hair, feathers or a personality. But she persisted. The milk in the eye dropper, the pro-nutro mush when they got a bit older.
And the heartache. Many mornings she woke up to a small corpse in the shoebox next to the bed. Or worse, the almighty Fang, our domestic cat plucked them right off her shoulder. Her anguished cries might have caught my focus for a minute or two, she may have got a grunt of sympathy for me before I was back in Narnia, or Nancy Drew land. But sure enough a week or two later, it was "oh, sweeeeeeeet" and another little fuzz-less mite was getting the glass dropper treatment. And every now and then, one would make it through to adulthood and what a fine companion she would then have. I'm thinking of the bigger ones of course - the cuddly porcupine, the hotbodied warthogs, or frenetic banded mongoose.
I feel a bit like that now. I have at least 6 proposals for theatre or book projects that will happen if I can just get the universal teat full enough for one of them to grow a bit of fur. Aaah, that teat.
A friend in Cape Town said that he admired fundraisers because they divert global funds to humanity's highest and noblest ideals. Mmm, lovely thought. And then there's Shri Shri Ravi Shankir, the Art of Living guru's famous response to one of his participants who asked "But where will the money come from?" when they were discussing a new project. He looked at her with his benificent smile and said "From wherever it is at the moment!"
Of course. So lets see, the wish list. There's the Great Walk. To get all the local and international organisations that work for causes like human trafficking, child slavery, etc etc, and do a long walk from Ujiji to Bagamoyo (the slave caravan route of old), culminating in a street carnival at the Bagamoyo arts festival, where each organisation has its own float, and then there's and a performance of Susi and Chuma, a half play I'm writing about Livingstone's loyal friends and pall bearers and their long walk to Bagamoyo...
Then there's the Zambezi play - a visual spectacular with puppets and physical theatre that tells the tale of a girl's journey down the Zambezi from source to ocean...
Then of course there's the play I've just finished writing. Anyone want to sponsor a production of the first ever bush memory mystery play?
Oh and don't forget the children's story, the organisational development self-help book, the Atlantis project - a movie about women who believe they are reincarnated scientists from Atlantis come to save the planet...
Last but not least there's the Inanna myth contemporary opera, this one on its way to a stage near you by, oh I don't know, around 2011...
Now of course, more pressing than ever, a new one - workshops on xenophobia for reintegration programmes in Cape Town and Joburg...
No, ideas are not the problem. Capitalism is. And the uncanny lack of patrons knocking at my door. Damn.
Writing proposals is a curious activity. Its writing the fiction of fiction. A document describing a document that doesn't yet exist, but will, if you (o esteemed producer/corporate social responsibility officer /gatekeeper of public funds) can just bear to part with the $10 000 needed to make it all happen.
Its like hatching crocodiles. Another activity Miranda was far better at than I. All these fierce little lives waiting inside the shell for the squeaks which cue them to start busting out. One squeak wakes up the next which wakes up the next. Squeak squawk from the first little slippery leathery beast. Hold your breath. Silence. Wait. Then a quiver from the shell next door and that one starts to press his shell-breaking tooth against his eggshell walls. Next thing there's a whole seething squawking slippery mass of baby crocodiles nudging and snapping and squirming, blissfully unaware of a future date when their sexy skins will house crisp dollar bills and elegant Italian feet.
But for every writhing snapper there's a silent egg. A dud that didn't squirm or squeak or wake up. And in the wild only one or two of those hatchlings will actually end up as a big old ten-foot lazy eyed croc basking on a sandbank provoking reptilian shudders in the back of a tourist brain.
So here's to the one that makes it. And here's to the hope that if many make it, they don't all hatch at once, coz that's gonna be some mean-ass feeding we'll have to do.
Anyone know of a professional egg-sitter I can borrow for a while?