luna allison tour diary number one - selective baggage

ascent contributor & spoken word artist Luna Allison goes on the road

For the first time in my life, Iím on the road. Iíve quit my job, given up my apartment and left Montreal for a month-long tour to launch my new spoken word CD. The plan is to hit eight citiesóHalifax, Portland (Maine), Boston, Philadelphia, New York City, Toronto, Ottawa and Montrealóall while traveling alone on the glorious Greyhound bus.

The thing Iíve found about traveling is that you have to let go of things more easily. I canít carry stuff like I normally doófrom little bits of garbage to my expectations of myself. Itís all happening so fast. The pace of the tour means that the emotional reality of each moment gets flushed away as the need to move on becomes urgent. Things can gather in a stagnant pool, but they are swept away in a riveróI guess I would call it selective baggage.

In my work-a-day life before going on tour, I had luxurious amounts of time to dwell, to really weigh things. I would sit for long hours, journaling about this or that. With all this room to ponder over the last five years itís become my habit to be, or at least feel, completely prepared for whatever I doóI decide on an action plan and write lists and double-check everything.

But on the road, I canít prepare in the same way because thereís so little that I know in advance. Iíve never been to the venues Iím performing inóI donít know if they have a good sound system, or whether someone will be working the door for me, or if the place is hard for people to find. Flying blind like this has forced me to be okay with Ďthe best I can doí. Itís worn down the edges of my perfectionism.

Plans work out or they donít, and then Iím onto the next thing. Iím utterly invested, but not as much in the outcome as in the moments I have to work with. It reminds me of that Leonard Cohen tune where he sings, ďForget your perfect offering / There are cracks in everything / Thatís how the light gets in.Ē Itís true that I feel more alive like this, doing things more loosely. Thereís more life in my words now because I donít have as much time to think them over beforehand. Or afterward.

So, here I am, allowing myself to be human: I do a couple shows, I make some mistakes. I might get lost once or twice trying to navigate a city, and then I have to pack it all in again and leave for somewhere else. This expansion & contraction is interesting because I have to make constant decisions about what to move on with and what to leave behind. Iíve never ďcleaned houseĒ so much or so often. Thereís really no time for the dust to settle.

Itís shaken me to purge so much from my life. Living this way feels like I have nothing left to gather around meónone of my usual creature comforts, at least. Everything is changing in my life these daysÖthough, I suppose things arenít so different from how they were before. It has always and only been me that I carry around, only now Iím learning how to do that with more selective baggage.





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