Writing

Samples of published writing:

I  The Armchair Traveller 

You cannot remember how long you’ve been travelling. For so long now there has just been you, your raft, and the sea. It is night and you are navigating by the stars. As the night wears on the seas become less turbulent, the winds more favourable and you sleep. In your dreams candles flicker warm yellow light in a circle. You are standing in the centre of the light, then you become the light; an array of possibility, moving fast, faster. A sorcerer steps into the circle slowly opening their cloak at the chest. A colour at the end of the spectrum next to orange and opposite of violet, as of blood, fire, or rubies bursts through. The world is burning.

When you wake the dawn is brightening the sky and you can see land to the south. You steer toward it across a cool green sea until eventually your raft tilts forward into a gentle bay. The still waters reflect the outline of a city. It is a city like a crystal globe, full of tensions. You tie up your raft to the old wooden pier and walk toward its crystal gates which supple as a snake, swings open. You enter. You are being admitted to a Pure Land where everything is pressured in time. Here, you find yourself surrounded by tall buildings made of large boulders of granite rocks. You sit on the pavement leaning your tired back against the warm moss covered stone. Above you a sparrowhawk glides in the currents of the wind. When you take out your phone to photograph this moment you find that your mobile isn’t working properly. A message lights up on the screen: The photograph is not a substitute for the experience. The message is sent by someone, or something, called Mystic. You reply: Hi Mystic, what kind of borders does the future have? Mystic responds: Open. Then the battery suddenly and completely dies, a perfect black out.

ON PERSONA

Speaking Dancer is a ‘persona’. She is not entirely me, and I am not only her. She emerged from my practice, from years of moving, and speaking, but perhaps she also emerged from my art/life relations. As a female, brown, immigrant, independent dance-theatre artist I am of multiple belongings. I feel allegiances with more than one place, inhabit more than one ‘home’, more than one social, cultural, disciplinary belonging. My experience of ‘home’ – as a person, and as a dance practitioner – is not fixed, it is continually made and unmade by relations.

My practice of dancing relies on duration, repetition and embodied memory. Or another way to say it is that dancing for me is attending to ghosts in my body, mapping all too familiar patterns onto air, or ground, or other bodies that might be watching, listening. As a dancer my training is in Western somatic dance practices. As an orator, and writer I work only in English but English is not my mother-tongue. I abandoned my mother-tongue aged nine years old standing in Melbourne airport, having arrived into a country after a civil war broke out in my birth-land. It was a surprising migration, made quickly, in the dark. In Australia I breathed in new horizons, I breathed out all the words and grammar I knew from a language dating back to 3rd century BCE.

As a choreographer and performer I chose to situate my practice-research in a different discipline, in the field of Architecture & Urban Design. Why? One reason is that I think it’s a contribution to interdisciplinary practice to articulate ‘choreographic thinking’ in disciplines outside of dance. Another is that in order to know a ‘home’ – or a body of practice – I must migrate.

Letter to the Editors, by Mick Douglas and Amaara Raheem, published in Performance Research Journal, Issue 23.6, ‘On Generosity‘, 2018

DEAR EDITORS,

WE RECOGNISE

THE OTHER IN EACH OTHER

CALLING AND RECALLING

HEY THERE GENEROSITY

A SMALL

TIMBER-PLANKED

PONTOON

FLOATS A HUNDRED

METRES FROM THE

SHORELINE IN A

BACKWATER

OF WESTERNPORT BAY

BUILT BY A LOCAL MAN

WITH YOUTHS

ANCHORED NEAR THE

SANDBAR EVERY SUMMER

WITHOUT PERMITS OR

PERMISSIONS

ON A TIDE THAT RISES

AND FALLS

TWO METRES EVERY DAY

 

PEOPLE SWIM TO IT

SWIM AROUND IT

LOUNGE ON IT

JUMP OFF IT

ENCOUNTER EACH OTHER

THROUGH IT

TEENAGERS POUT AND

PERFORM THEIR PROWESS

FOR EACH OTHER ON IT

WALKERS LOOK TO IT

NO ONE ASKED FOR IT

YET EVERYONE SEEMS TO

OVERWHELMINGLY FEEL

WARM TOWARD IT

  • Autobiography: Me, Myself and You by Amaara Raheem / Published in Performance Research Journal, Issue 23.2, ‘On Writing and Performance‘, 2018.

MONOLOGUE I

Ah! Here she comes. The most important person on the ship. Good! She’s still

alive.

Laughter

Let me tell you something I don’t see the sea anymore. I just see the vessel. Really. I’m telling you. I don’t see the sea. Yeah sure when I was younger I used to see the sea but now, there is nothing. There is just the vessel, that’s all I see and I can see the other vessels too but the sea, she is not there. There is nothing. Really. I’m telling you. Please excuse me I don’t mean to offend you but if I were you and I was doing nothing on this ship, I know not nothing, but you know not with any, let me say, obligations, it would drive me crazy. Really. It’s a prison. You’re in jail. I mean you can leave your cabin but where can you go? Nowhere. It’s a disaster. I suppose it’s interesting for you. But it’s boring too, no? No television, no internet, no rush hour, no nothing. We are all counting the days till we go home, not just you. At first the day before you leave home it’s awful, really awful and then you get on the ship and at first time moves very slowly. After a month, it starts to speed up. But let me tell you something, we’re all here only for the money, not for the pleasure. Ok, ok for some it’s a dream, like for me, when I was young and stupid. Let’s say I did not choose the cargo, the cargo choose me.

 

 

 

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