By M. Sebastian Araujo
Mike Albo is a Writer with a Capital W. Comedienne, Performer and Chronicler of Gay Life in the era of Gay with a Capital G. Ok enough with the capital letters! I have always been an avid reader and fan of this extraordinary chap! So you can imagine how lucky I was to have had a chance to find out more about what makes him do what he does …
What in your world affects your creativity?
Negatively: my feelings and emotions surrounding money and the lack thereof affect my ability to feel free enough to be creative. I can get very sad and stultified by my lack of funds. I can begin to feel very alone and isolated when I don’t have money (which is often). My new ebook, Spermhood, is about my year long journey donating sperm to my two friends, a lesbian couple, but it also is about my journey to understanding this sadness and anxiety of mine, getting my arms around it, giving it love, and finding faith. Seriously it’s so weird but jerking off in a cup for a year became a spiritual journey!
Positively: the outdoors, trees, the ocean, expansive space, like the landscape of Ptown, are crucial to mental clarity. Also exercise, especially swimming…but as much as i value solitude, being in a vibrant artistic community, collaborating and helping other people with their work is hugely important to me!
With all the changes in technology, how do you feel they may have changed the “Art/Performance/Writing scene today…?
Again there are positive and negative aspects. I love communicating — I am pretty active on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram — and feel that more than ever before I can build an audience/community and connect with people. On the down side, our brains are turning into screens that we touch and fondle, and work that isn’t easily digested or doesn’t dazzle the eye in a certain way suffers.
What makes people respond to what you do?
I think it is because I am funny and sad at the same time? I’m one of those clowns with fake tears coming out of his eyes and a droopy flower.
Was there a “shining light bulb” moment in your career when you realized that you were an artist? If so what was it?
I have always wanted to be a writer, ever since i was in 5th grade. I have kept a diary since then. I think I am a thwarted poet. I started as a poet in those diaries, and all through college and grad school, then I started getting on stage and writing prose and mixing in the poetry i guess. It’s like I have been trying to get back to the purity of poetry, by way of theater, fiction, comedy and solo performance…searching for that door I opened way back when I was 7 years old.
How do you begin your creative process?
I usually start with an idea or purpose — a “What if…?” or “I want to express how….” statement, or sometimes an image or bit of dialogue or even a weird sign I may see on the street. I write it down in my nutty notebook/diary/idea depot. I decide, after much thought (usually while swimming) if this idea is worth expanding upon…if it is a performance, character, monologue, play, poem, work of fiction, or article. Then I flesh out the idea on paper. Then there is a very long process of printing out pages, editing, entering edits onto the computer, then printing out again, drafts and drafts and drafts. I believe that ideas are energy and its our job to give them form.
What is it about Provincetown that keeps you and other Artists either living there or coming back again and again?
Provincetown always recharges me. I come there and its like my little cellphone battery of a heart is on its last bar of power, and I get there and just soak up the energy. Its very much about the physicality of the town. Biking, running, swimming every day and getting back into my body. But it is definitely also about the spirit of that town — the legacy of the arts is so powerful and palpable. I love going to shows, and seeing friends work in the galleries. Just talking to other people about their creative life is so vital to me!
To Find out More about Mike Albo’s New Book Click Here:
Creativity can come in many forms. Sometimes it finds a time and place to flourish…and sometimes it finds a permanent home. Provincetown is such a place and that seems to be the thread of life that runs through the place and the lives of so many. Connecting the past to the present and making us all Provincetown-ians no matter where we may roam, Ptown will be on the compass.