Last year was a doozy, Am I right? So many of us in pain, so much of the world collectively in pain. I felt it all. This time of year, that in between time, where we fully let go of the previous old year, that has left us behind. We still have the hope of new beginnings in which the new year that we are moving into will bring us. I usually take note of last year’s experiences and take stock in its various lessons.
At the end of 2016, I have noticed more so than any other year, the progression of time, as a delusion. This delusion has became more evident, in the past 5 years. These years seem to have melded into one another and became one mega five year. Where I have been perpetually banging into walls, in a huge creative rut, intermixed with unending heartbreak, and endings to epic friendships. Then there was the working relationship fall outs. Where the situation called me to make a sworn vow to myself, to never enter into again, the mother of all toxic working relationships. The mega year was book-ended, by some of those earth shattering, for any filmmaker, equipment crashes. Then only, to fall into one of the deepest ever holes that I have been in. This finally forced me to finally stop the cycle of endless go – go- go routine, where I temporarily had the habit of using work to fill the massive hole that was growing in the pit of my gut.
I guess you can say that I hit my rock bottom as a work-a-holic and filling that hole with work wasn’t working anymore. It was actually getting bigger. I found myself in complete apathy. I was also becoming very bitter, tired of banging my head against walls. I was upset with production crews falling apart. I was tired of always being turned down for funding support. I was just tired, just tired and just tired. I just didn’t care about anything anymore. I found myself in a deep depression, where I didn’t have the capacity of ignoring anymore.
January – February 2016
I found myself working with Tien Providence, a long time playwright. Where every couple of years after endless declined applications from various Theatre Festivals. He gets fed up and he says; “Mali lets just do it and let’s put on a play.”
So, once again I put on the Things Falling Apart’s http://thingsfallingapartevents.wordpress.com hat on, and we do a play. We had a couple of scheduling set backs, but we finally set the production dates for Just For A Moment which will run at Pia Bouman Theatre Feb25-March 6th, 2016.
Just For a Moment which featured actors: Raïs Muoi and Nawa Nicole Simon. This production blessed me the opportunity to work with all these folks here: Folasade Akintola-Sade (Stage Manager) Walter Elliot and Jabari (Elicser) Elliot (Set Designers and Artist), Tyrone MacLean-Wilson (Graphic Designer), Sharrine Francis and Sandra Brewster (Artists).
It was a whirlwind but after a month rehearsals,10 days of production, all the way to March 6th we had our closing. At the end of the run we were absolutely spent, but we made it through. I want to thank all those deeply who worked on the production, and all those who came to see the show.
Entering the TTC Twilight Zone
Getting to the last day of the production felt like a marathon. After the closing show I went with Sade the Stage Manager, to go and eat after wrapping stage after the show I had my tripod and borrowed camera in hand, along with various stage props. We went to Kensington Market to eat and stayed for a Poetry Reading, because Lindsey Bess had a poetry reading and synchronistically she had just happened to come from our closing play, so we stayed for her reading. We left around 10pm, because at that time I barely could keep my eyes open.
Now those who have been riding the TTC as long as I have, maybe you to would be empathetic, on why I lost my shit on that winter day. Those who don’t have the experience of traveling via Subway, Bus or Streetcar in Toronto, the TTC had been trying very slowly transition the new Buses, Subways and Streetcars onto various lines. Well, I mean you know because vehicles that run everyday will need to eventually have to be replaced. right? Anyway, the 510 Spadina car was currently one of the lines beginning to be transitioned to the new Street Cars. They have also been slowly adding the new Presto Machines, as well.
At that time, I was actually avoiding the new streetcars, because of the lack of communication given to riders from the TTC, not informing people seemed to be their communication plan for all changes being implemented, their communication plan seemed to be non existent to riders. I mean we have only been carrying the system cost from time right? I mean why consult riders right? They only have lived experience of getting around the city, right? who needs that knowledge? Their directions were confusing, where do you pay? And what if you are stuck at the end of the car, in the middle rush hour? What then?
Anyway so I usually waited for the next streetcar. TTC communication of system changes can always be at best an #epicfail, along with their slow ass expansion planning. I mean why be a functional Public Transit?
I usually avoided the new streetcars, and waited for the next one. But that night after the marathon play run, I was exhausted. I had my camera equipment in hand, so I decided to just deal with it when I got to the Station, ya bad idea!!! So I boarded with Sade (Stage Manager), and off we went from Kensington Market to the Station.
At the Station, armed with my token in hand, and looking for direction on exactly where we were to pay. Sade had her metropass. We came off the Streetcar right into the Fare Inspectors. I held out my token, as they asked me for proof of payment, I said: “Well I didn’t know where to pay on board the streetcar” and asked “Where was I to pay on board”. Then with an accusatory tone, one of the inspectors asked: “Why didn’t you get proof of payment?” I repeated; “I didn’t see where tho?” They said; Well there are signs on board.” I replied; “I didn’t see them, and what if I didn’t know English?” “Why weren’t there more people giving riders direction on the Streetcar?”, But they just continued to be short and ordered me to get proof of payment upstairs.
So I was carrying all my equipment and Show set dec and prop stuff. Sade and I go upstairs I, to get my proof of payment and her, to go and catch the bus. Apparently, it is sacrilege for Fare Inspectors to receive tokens. Their job description is to crack down on riders, i suppose, and certainly not giving riders direction. I found an info person, where I asked “Why isn’t there anyone giving riders directions on board of the new Streetcars?” I was incensed around of the implication of ripping off the TTC, due to the fact of how much collectively I have paid into the system, since I began riding at the age of 12. In fact how much we as riders collectively have put into maintaining the TTC, we have carried the operation budget for a long minute now.
As I went downstairs I grew more and more angry, and when I approached the 2 fare inspectors again and to show that indeed I got my proof a payment, and asked why they weren’t more helpful. The situation degraded into a situation where ya I do admit it wasn’t my finest hour. But when one of the Fare Inspectors asked me if my aim was to rip of the system, this is where I lost it. All of my bitterness was unleashed onto these two inspectors, one of them then asked if I were crazy, and the argument degraded further and ended with me flicking my transfer proof of payment, at one of the Fair Inspectors. They threatened me with an assault charge and I scoffed at that because of how ridiculous that sounded and went to go wait for the subway home. I realized they weren’t joking when 2 police officers and 3 TTC constables were coming towards me. They actually stopped the subway for that, and I was then dragged, detained and then released outside Subway Station.
Yep you read that correctly I was arrest for assault via flicked transfer, essentially for getting in argument with a Fare Inspector and losing it during the process, which they then charged me with assault. That actually happened. So yes I admit it wasn’t my finest hour, I mean I really did lose it, but….. really that actually happened, and for the rest of the year. That was my TTC episode of the Twilight Zone, which then had me in and out of College Park Courts.
I was luckier than some, with connections, and was convinced to get a lawyer and not defend myself, really grateful those who supported me through the insanity. I am grateful for my connection with the Law Union, my filming so many things came in handy. I learnt a lot about myself in that one incident, but it was a lengthy lesson, and will stay with me all through the year.
That moment was the years tipping point, and marked my descent into deep depression. It is that easy and was that easy, to get a charge. That easy to be sucked into the system. This had me clearly on the road that lead me to the other side of the world.
#Reflections2016 #jounalsofadocuivxen Stay Tuned for Part 2
#docuvixenradio Malinda Francis will be on #NormanOtisRichmond’s #DiasporicMusic this Sunday on #UhuruRadio speaking about her trip, Show streams every Sunday 2-4pm EST.