Issue #105 / July 2020
Do you ever collaborate with Susie?
Much of my creative energy comes from a focused exchange of ideas with other people — I would call that the collaborative spirit. The collaborative spirit is essentially a strategy for responding to the world. In this respect The Red Hand Files are a collaboration, and it is the received energy from the ever-growing number of questions that brings me back each week to this place of acknowledgement and gratitude. It feels like a shared project.
So it is with Susie. I have been married to her for over twenty years, and our marriage itself is an ever-evolving alliance or collaboration. The work that we do — Susie with The Vampire’s Wife, and me with my own work — is a form of self-actualising that emerges from the energy of our relationship.
It is not that I discuss my lyrics with her, rather my lyrics radiate from a life lived together. My words are not just a way of making sense of our relationship, they also participate in it, magnify it, and enhance it. It is the same with Susie’s dresses. They are ghost-like articulations of the mysterious and preternatural part of her nature, as seen through our relationship. The designing and creating of these dresses, like the writing of my words, emerge out of our shared experience; and these creative endeavours, these songs and dresses, in turn, imagine our relationship alive — and around and around it goes, each dreaming up the other.
These days, there is little I do that is not done in the spirit of collaboration. We are drawn together at the behest of the world to attend to its needs. This world itself is our communal experiment — all of ours — a shared project of extraordinary complexity in which we are all participating, and through which each of our actions resound through time. We each impact upon the other, and are each in service of the other. This is the true energy of the collaborative spirit.