Yes, we have been thinking and feeling about this for some years. Yes it is a challenge with the kind of life we live. Yes, why, when you are so aware and busy with the intractable problems and growing crises of a global humanity, would you still decide to procreate?
Are we ready? Can we afford this? What about education? How can you be on ongoing performance tours on different continents with a child or two in tow?
How can you be parents and managers and artists at the same time?
Answer: we can only imagine probable problems and we can only creatively imagine overcoming them. We have no experience in this. And frankly, besides adventurous stories of the odd family living in a bus or on a boat roaming around somewhere on the planet, we have no role models, no one we can go to who has direct experience of what lies ahead of us.
And so the moment has arrived for me to announce to you that this indeed lies ahead of us: Joke and I expect to bring another human being into this world during April next year!
Some of you already know. And thanks to all of you who have already showered us with well wishes and happiness. Of course, while we do not know anyone who raise children in our particular kind of setup, we are still surrounded by so many with tonnes and tonnes of experience in all the child-related things that are more universal, and many who give practical advice on smaller things that helps us to put the pieces of this new and fundamental puzzle together.
There is no bigger teacher than reality, so many of our questions and doubts, also the deeper ones, can only properly be addressed when we find ourselves knee-deep in the reality of not being two anymore, but three.
We do not foresee, for now, that our rhythms and primary means of income – that is performance tours, mainly here in SA, in Europe and North America will change much, with the exception of the April-May Europe tour next year, which we are postponing to 2019. We will do a six week South African tour during February-March, but will then go back to our home base in Stutterheim, with a month in anticipation of the birth and then three months, still at home, after the birth. Then, hold your breath, we will start touring with this little life, first in SA (August-Sept), then North America during October-November next year. We shall also visit Joke’s family in Belgium twice within the next year. (The idea in future is to tighten the tours somewhat so that we can spend up to four months annually at our home base).
In fact, right now we would have been in North America as per usual, but we decided to also take a break on this, as we needed time to settle into our new base and getting things in place before our lives get thoroughly disrupted. One of these things is a return of an online subscription service. In the past, we had the “HA!Monthly,” which basically was an online magazine with a host of writings, recordings, visual art and videos being released to subscribers each month. That particular format was not sustainable and we’ve learnt some lessons. We trust that the new service, which will kick in by early next year, will be more viable and exciting for both our own flow of creativity and those of you who tap into it. This is also intended to grow into a supporting stream of income as our expenses would rise with having a child.
This newsletter will also change, while still carrying our messages of import, be more regular and visually alive with introducing our performances, online posts and products. To have it all in place so these can run smoothly and time-economically while on the road, takes months of sorting and organizing our work, designing effective interfaces and putting robust systems in place to coordinate and spread it all.
Joke will add her voice later on this, but for me – getting back to the question of releasing more of human life in our times, there comes a point where there is, well, no point. Just the forward wave of deep instinctual life, that has its own momentum and mysterious logic of WANTING to procreate itself. And for me this came about only fully as I share my life with a woman who breathes so very close to my own soul, who feels like someone who is even more than family to me. No perfect union, but a strength of dynamic that awakens primal instinct. It lies beyond reason, and yet is not irrational. We allowed this thrust, yet also planned it. And I am happy to say that conception was immediate and so far all signs are healthy.
Besides instinct, there is also the reasoning that if everyone would hold back on new life just because of all the dark clouds on the horizon, it would amount to collective suicide. No solution in that. There is a way between this kind of withholding and just adding numbers with no concern for, or awareness of, the sustainability of the whole. And that is to invest humanity with new life that carries a sense of its own limitations and responsibilities. New life that senses its participation in the broader web of life, new life that contributes to restoring balance, health and interrelatedness. This way is not a question, for me, of imposing a role and identity on a child, but to BE these things, so that your parenting becomes a felt and formative experience. The life of Joke and I has specific limitations. It is not for us to pretend we can offer a child anything un-limited – unlimited love, unlimited choice, unlimited opportunities. It would be our ability to be creative and sprout life within our limits that will equip this child to help shape a human world that does not run itself out of bounds.
Yes, I am excited. I have worked with so many children over the years, always aware of the lingering desire to live with my own. But it would have remained that desire, if it was not for Joke. Her entrance into my life gave the foundation to make this a reality. This is a choice between the two of us. It is our relationship that is the basis for having children, not the other way around. As procreating is our choice, it is therefore also our responsibility. We do this to release them in good time into worlds of their own making. But up to that point, we will be parents. Not masters, nor friends. Parents. And we are ready for that.
Oh, by the way, we don’t think of more than two. Perhaps the two will come at once, who knows. Joke herself is part of a twin..
All of this, of course, if all goes well with the birth. We trust it will and look forward to share this new life with you too!