Krissi’s Travelog

Gdy Polska sie rozrywala w rozne kierunki, moj dziadek bezwiednie przeramal moje serce na dwoje.  Jego syn, moj ojciec, zlepil te pekniecia cukrem.  Klucilismy sie na temat jezyka, odrzucilismy cate ksiazki, zgubilismy cale miasta, zalowalismy konca jesieni.

Whilst Poland was tearing herself apart, my grandfather unknowingly tore my heart in two.  His son, my father, pasted together the cracks with sugar.  We argued over language, we denied whole books, we lost entire cities, we mourned the end of autumn.

Krissi Musiol is going on a journey across Europe to Poland in search of fragments of her grandfather.  Piecing together performance text, memory and a variety of cakes, she hopes to find her way around without getting lost, but more importantly, without losing any cities.

Supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, this blog will enable viewers to trace Krissi’s location and follow her journey through performance text.  The journeys will become the basis for a studio performance, integrating Polish and English language.


Somewhere between Nowhere and Goodbye (An expectation)

It’s possible I cried.  What’s the difference?

I cried.  I didn’t cry.

Tears welled and vanished and fell and disappeared.

What’s the difference whether I cried or not?

Does it make a difference?  To you?

A love story.  A death story.  In Paris.  Or somewhere like Paris.

An old rotten greying dress.  An old rotten greying man.  An expectation.

We Mourned the End of Autumn. (This is what happens when you lose everything)

I decided to live my life from a list of towns and cities.  I believed in the map you drew with my bare eyes.  Your eyes were on the door.  You held me so close in your arms (so tight it hurt), but pushed me out the door with your heart (so fast it hurt).  And yet, you held me so close in your arms and then pushed me out the door with your heart.

I decided to live my life by  the lyrics of my favourite song.

I decided to live my life from a 10 point plan written on a yellow post-it note, stuck to the back of my diary.

I decided to live my life the way someone else wanted me to live it.  I believed in the map you drew with my bare heart, even when it led me round in circles and always back to the same place -to no one, to nothing, to the end of autumn.

I decided to live my life from a list of towns and cities.  I believed in the map you drew with my bare hands.  When my hands tore at the city, the city turned to burning ashes, the ashes blew into the sea, the sea flowed into streams, the streams eventually into the taps from which we drank.

We mourned the end of autumn long before it was due.  We grieved for drowned babies (and believe me, there were plenty).  We despaired over the heart we shared when we realised we would never see each other in the same light again.  We drank more wine.

With the end of autumn came darkness and dread, the loss of communication, then eventually, nothing.

We Denied Whole Books. (I showed him everything my life had been working towards and he closed his eyes and shook his head)

We misplaced maps and timetables for public transport.

We spilt ingredients over the vital information in cookery books.

We hid our deepest thoughts in journals which we hid so well that even we couldn’t find them.

We denied whole books.  We denied that they were ever written or ever existed in the bookcase on the left hand side of the dining room.

We lost plays -all kinds of plays -Ibsen, Chekhov, the entire Shakespeare collection.

We tore up phonebooks with our bare hands.

We burnt letters from loved ones, deleted emails and text messages and blacked out with marker pen the instructions to operate the washing machine.

We baked the bible in the oven on an unknown temperature.

We covered up the numbers on our door and the name of our street.

We promised to never send birthday cards again.

We made paper aeroplanes out of pages from the dictionary and flew the words out onto the street.

We soaked novels in the bath until the pages crinkled at the edges and the letters slipped off the page, turning the water inky black.

We’re still talking to each other about not talking to each other. (This never happened)

She used to write to him, maybe 2 or 3 times a week.  She used to tell him about home.  How she was waiting for him.  About rations.  About the family next door.  About the garden.  About his family and friends and the life he’d left behind.  The majority of letters were of no interest to anyone.  -A ramble of daily chores, of routine, church and work.  But for him, 14 months from home, it was everything.  It was a contact to a different life.  A better life.  Of normality and love.  They were letters of home and of life.

The letters were never read.

Due to poor mail distribution, the letters (all letters) arrived in one huge load.  The day before, 3 soldiers had unsuccessfully attempted to escape, for which all men were punished.  The eagerly awaited delivered letters were presented in front of the whole camp.  Familiar handwriting, beige envelopes.  Four matches destroyed them all.  Curled paper, grey smoke, the smell of home burnt back into ashes of a previous life.

Don’t go around breaking young girls hearts (be careful what they told you)

Don’t promise her the earth.

Don’t go to war.

Don’t fight a battle for me or your country.

Don’t promise you’ll be home safely when there’s no guarantee.

Don’t offer me your love 5 minutes before you have to leave.

Don’t call, don’t write, don’t text, don’t email.

Don’t talk to me about the last 5 years.

Don’t talk to me about the last 87 years.

Don’t tell me how you’ve been.

Don’t tell me about a marriage which never happened, about casinos and Italy, about money and politics.

Don’t reminise your selfish dreams.

Don’t threaten me with sharp hearts and loaded kisses.

Don’t make young girls cry.

Don’t attempt to revisit the past.

Don’t pull apart every little detail.

Don’t insinuate that I am the one.

Don’t tell me that I’m just a girl.

Don’t hang up.

Don’t answer my calls.

Don’t meet me for a drink, even if I beg you.

Don’t move across the country for me.

Don’t think about me, don’t talk about me.

Don’t go around breaking young girls hearts.

We argued over language (directions around Milano)

Take a left and descend 152 steps.

Turn left (he gestured right) and follow for 300m.

Carry straight on even when the road ends.

Turn right at kiosk sette.

Pass the old lady, take the second (or maybe third) right at the street which name I can never remember until you reach the bar where I drank white wine spritzers with x that odd Monday night.

You’ll then come to a chiese where you turn left (he gestured right).  It’s not lontano from here.

Head towards the sedi expositive and Parco Sempione.

Pass dieci traffic lights and the l’ingresso for Pinacoteca Ambrosiana.  Prego.

I waited as long as I possibly could wait (and then I waited a few seconds more)

I have travelled from Paris to Montpellier, Barcelona, Marseille, Cannes, Nice, Monaco and Milan.  I have been waiting - waiting on platforms and trains in different cities.  I’m waiting until it’s time to come home to Poland.

I’m coming home to you.  I’m coming home to you and I want you to listen to me.  I want you to listen to me about how I’ve been waiting for you.

Waiting for the right time.

Waiting for the right words.

Waiting for you to recognise me.  (I hope you recognise me this time).

I’m waiting until you and I can have coffee and cake and talk about the old times before the war, and laugh about the times we missed each other because you didn’t recognise me.

I’m waiting for home grown roses and games of tennis.

I’m waiting for old Polish books I will never bother reading.

I’m waiting at the window, by the sea, for you to come home because I’m worried you’re lost and won’t recognise me.

10 ways to lose an entire city

10 ways to lose an entire city:

1.  Through war - maybe your city gets bombed, or maybe it is invaded and all the surrounding countries take a slice.

2.  Through heartache - perhaps someone broke your heart in a particular city so you can’t go back there.

3.  Through poor directions - or maybe poor map reading skills.

4.  Through fear - maybe a city is just too big and too overwhelming for you.

5.  Through death - perhaps there was a time when you visited a particular city a lot, but now that x has died, you have no reason to return.

6.  Through poor transport links - maybe you really, really wanted to get to a city, which is just impossible to get to.

7.  Through bad weather - perhaps your city has been flooded, or buried in by snow.

8.  Through poor memory - You´re not too sure what this city´s called or where exactly it is.  In fact, you´re not sure you are where you think you are.

9.  Through alcohol - perhaps you arrive in your city and drink drink drink until the alcohol has wiped all recollection of you ever being there.

10.  Through hangover - and maybe, you are so hungover, that the city disappears under a mist of white

We couldn’t remember which city we were in (so we closed our eyes and pretended it was Rio)

We couldn’t quite locate the date.

We became suspicious that the clocks were wrong.

We were given no clues from the pavements on the streets.

We had a sneaky suspicion we were somewhere on the east.

We followed directions that led us back to where we had started.

We decided the huge tower looked familiar, but then wondered whether we had just seen a picture of it in a book.

We couldn’t remember the proper pronunciation.

We couldn’t remember whether we’d been on this street before.

We couldn’t remember the words for “I’m sorry”.

We couldn’t remember how to be nice to each other.

We couldn’t remember which city we were in (so we closed our eyes and pretended it was Rio).