Ed. note: This is the second in a four part series hosted in collaboration with The Ladies Almanack, a feature-length experimental narrative film written & directed by Daviel Shy, based on the novel of the same title by Djuna Barnes. The second post of the series is by actor, Brenna Kail.
It’s been said, “one generally takes Loy – or does not – as one takes a vow”. I believe she would find this most pleasing: the clarity within a simple statement that brings truth. I would describe Mina Loy as a truth seeker of sorts, not for her own satisfaction, but to pick up the lids of the world’s sleepy eyes. The tone of her poetry is so matter of fact, like “how could you be alive and not see this world around you?” As Loy in The Ladies Almanack, I say lines like “Oh come on!” and “You know it…” Lines that stay true to her disposition. Daviel says she wrote these lines for me, but I think they are an elixir that we all are drinking. All of these characters/humans are opening ideas that have worn a tight lid for so long.
Mina Loy wasn’t trying to make waves or ruffle feathers; she was being without effort. After all, this type of effort would be a waste. She could and would be no other. It was her nature, pure and simple, that created the disturbance she knew best. Mina used written words to sing her song. She belonged to a community, but I’m not so sure she really ever wanted to “belong”. When you have a vision, or a sense of responsibility which drives you, it’s difficult to see reasons for this type of need. Without effort, she attracted booming voices which exclaimed her convictions. She, herself, need not shout, when others did it so well.
However much I wasn’t looking for this doesn’t matter, because it found me. Already feeling like an outlier among these self-identified “artists,” could I cross over into a world which looked so different from mine? I honestly had made up mind beforehand that we wouldn’t mix. I spend my days following rules, while this group is redefining them. I’m so used to having to plead my case first, before I am able to be understood. What I didn’t know was that I was tired of this. I’m pushing and moving as well. I want to start from a mutual understanding. I had thought that this “pleading” was how I could make a difference. I realize now that communities are strong and forceful. Just being already there, together.
Filming in Paris awoke my desire to take support without judgement. When you forget this, it’s easy to box yourself in and become protective of your desires. Instead, doors opened, minds questioned, arms curled, intellect was exchanged, energy was respected, beauty was expanded, life became pure. My host Welela’s low lights, perpetually burning incense and purple sheets, became my home. I consumed, eagerly, the energy which showed me its face. The Ladies Almanack, Paris Edition, set the stage for me to evolve through these characters and humans. I rarely stumble upon unconditional support like this, outside of my family, who have set the bar high.
Am I representing this person? Am I this person? Is this Daviel’s made up version of this person? My mother asks me these questions and I’ve attempted numerous answers. Each time disagreeing with myself as the words leave my mouth. I look up at my mother and see a tight-lipped, nodding head. My answer was incomplete. Finally, one day I overheard Daviel answer these same questions and it turns out the answer is “yes”, to all.
What a relief.
It is a blend in which one could not do without the other. This may be a proper theme for The Ladies Almanack. I’m still figuring out how to blend these on film, though. It makes sense in my head, but we are still getting to know each other, Mina and I. I have learned that Mina needs me, and I need her, to make this relationship work. I wait with anticipation to see and feel us entwine during the upcoming shoots in Chicago. We all needed this and each other for so many crossed over reasons. When I think of Paris, I can still see the rainbow of energy bouncing among us.