While most things in the arts community are still on hold, Caroline Russell-King is still keeping in touch with those who make Calgary the place that it is. She offers up a (Pandemic) Postcard Profile with author, playwright, and filmmaker Cheryl Foggo (with a nod to Bernard Pivot and James Lipton).
What is the next project for you?
I’m working on the NFB documentary film John Ware.
How do you contribute to these pieces?
I wrote and am directing this film. Right now, I’m working with my editor Margot McMaster.
What is your greatest creative challenge?
Shutting out the rest of the world so that I can go to the well of creativity, which for me is a place of joy. I have to shut out a lot of things to access this place.
What turns you on creatively?
Music has an incredibly powerful impact on me. There have been times of writer’s block where I didn’t know where to go next, but music unlocked me. Once, listening to Wynton Marsalis allowed me to finish a project that had been languishing. Other people’s work – that’s my best turnon.
What turns you off creatively?
What’s one thing you’re really good at?
(Giggles) I’m good at a great number … I’m really good at empathy. I have a fairly flexible mind, I’m able to be elastic and I’m able to grow. I am strong and able to move when needed.
If you could resurrect and share a drink with a dead person who would it be?
Betty Shabazz (an American educator and Civil Rights advocate 1934-1997). she was Malcom X’s wife – we would drink tea!
What is one thing you wish you’d known sooner?
The anxiety that you have when your kids are little – I wish I had known that it was going to be OK. Kids are so resilient; I’ve learned this as a grandmother.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
I would have made a very good historian and professor. Also, when I see photos of black women on horses, that looks like the ideal life to me. I wouldn’t be a rodeo barrel racer, or anything like that, I’d be a person who takes care of wild horses.
What would you do with extreme wealth?
I’d take care of everyone in my family. I would support arts organizations and places that address equity in society and causes I hold dear.
What is one piece of advice you would give to the person who wants to do what you do?
First, you have to strike a balance between believing what you do is valid and being able to accept that you don’t know everything about your craft, and you can learn. Secondly, you have to find a community of people who will help you get your writing out to the world. Have faith in your output and find community!
Caroline Russell-King is a playwright, dramaturg, and instructor. She is a member of The Playwrights Guild of Canada, the Dramatist Guild of America and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. You can find her work here at www.carolinerussellking.com.