Web Editor Sarah Thompson has been editing it up for SAD Mag since January (call this a late introduction). She covers Literature, Theatre in the realms of Comedy and Physical Theatre, Art, Photography, and People of Interest. Read on to see why she's a person of interest to us!
Name and Pronouns
Sarah Thompson, She/Her
Where are you from? How long have you been in Vancouver?
I lived in New Westminster for most of my life. My relationship with it has evolved plenty over the years, shifting from “get me outta here” disdain to a reluctant appreciation of its comfort and nostalgia. I’ve lived on and off in Vancouver for the last 6 or so years, and am now residing with my partner, my cat, and ~30 plants in Mount Pleasant.
What was it like to move to Vancouver?
I felt pretty confronted by the city when I first moved out here. Largely this was due to the fact that I was “leaving the nest” of my own accord, which was more uprooting than freeing -- contrary to what I thought it would be when I was 19. I also dealt (and continue to deal with) plenty of anxiety about identity, merit, fitting in, etc. With something as small as working on my computer from a coffee shop, I’d be like, “Do I belong here? Is it my fault that I don’t get the fashion? Do I suck for drinking decaf?” ad nauseum. It’s better, now; I’m turning 26 in November, and finally feel like I’m getting my city sea legs.
You went to SFU - what did you study there?
In December, I’ll graduate with a BA in Anthropology. I chose my major when I was studying at Langara, because I was enamoured with the statements, “Understanding before judgement”, and, “Make the familiar strange, and the strange familiar”. Since then, I’ve studied structures of power, how information travels and is controlled, arguments within the discipline about the merits of quantitative versus qualitative data… lots of important, conceptual stuff. I think this is where I gained my habit of uncontrollable philosophical rambling. I’ve also enjoyed studying at SFU because the professors and instructors generally ensure we’re thinking critically about our participation in the field, which has been, historically, an instrument of colonialism. I don’t think I’ll become an anthropologist, but the fruits of my studies are evident daily. There are lots of parallels between anthropology and mindfulness practice, now that I think about it. For example, if you were ordering a cup of coffee, mindfulness practice might encourage you to really be present in the interaction, with another human being, recognizing their fullness and humanity. Similarly, anthropology places lots of value on “lay people”, as holders of highly important and often undervalued information. When ordering that cup of coffee, “anthropology” reminds us that the server is a person who occupies many other roles, too. And that their role in that job is, likely, much more nuanced than it would seem from the outside. It’s like being able to see the code in the Matrix or something, every single person is just exploding with complexity, history, connections. Ugh, voila the ramblings.
Who are some of your favourite artists?
My obsession with Bo Burnham is a fixed point in my identity. I started watching his videos in high school, and I like to think we sort of grew together. Just after my 19th birthday, I flew to Boston for one night to see him live. I literally can’t remember the final scene of his show, I felt as though I was transcended. I could write at length about his cleverness, his deceptively empathetic heart, his innovation of different forms, but I’m not blind to the fact that it is, totally and entirely, a big fat crush. I could also write at length about how crushes are actually complex, intelligent forms of appreciation, but I’ll save it. Check out his movie Eighth Grade if you want to know what I’m on about. It is very funny, and very tender-hearted.
You are an artist in a few different forms. What are they?
I’m involved with a big ol’ handful of things, including writing, clowning, stand-up, podcasting, visual art, and zines. They’re all very dear to me, and I feel constantly stressed that I can’t do them all, every day, simultaneously. Clown is the big one, right now. I’m writing a show (eek), which is an otherworldly process. I took my Baby Clown course last Spring, and everything’s just been… different, since then. Clown work is this strange, wonderful blend of dramaturgy, psychology, mindfulness, and embodiment that’s relevant to everyday life, as well as the time onstage. One of the things I’m working on right now is the embodiment of “the judges”: self-doubt, self-hate, internal nitpicking. Writing a show is a dream of mine, and these judges turn that into a living nightmare. So, rather than pushing them down or being overcome by them, I’m exploring them. Giving them a spine and a voice. The idea is that when you can play them, you regain your mobility. You learn to recognize and articulate them, which takes away the element of surprise, and their ability to get the jump on you. I’m also starting an Expressive Arts Therapy program in September, and the intention is to use clowning, among other forms, in a private practice. We shall see how that unfolds.
What’s your favourite method of storytelling?
I like movies and television because I don’t have to do anything. Laying down is like, my favorite. I also take after my mother, in that I leave every bookstore with a gorgeous, towering stack of books. In addition to these more produced versions of storytelling, I also love anecdotes, or the odd Messenger notification I get from my best friend, detailing something odd or awful or delightful.
Current TV show?
I’m watching Dr. Who for the first time ever. I’m on season 5 and eager for merch.
Lasagna and pizza, respectively, which is inconvenient. Wheat and dairy are not my friends.
A skill you always wished you had?
I wish I’d been trained as a dancer back when I was compact. Now that my body is both lanky and curvy, it’s a little trickier.
Fantasy or sci-fi?
Fantasy. I don’t feel quite clever enough for sci-fi. There are so many gadgets.
Do you look like your art?
Oh, I think so. After all, they’re all just extensions of various aspects.