Carmen Aguirre

Carmen Aguirre


Hi my name is Carmen Aguirre and this is my tenth thought. So my seat mate – the drone-maker, who also referred to Chile as the free-est country in the world – because there are no regulations for business people. He’s talking to me about the grey area and wanting to know more about it. I’m really interested in his job – where it’s al black and white according to him. And what’s fascinating to me about him is he is afraid of violence – and he tells me this.

Hi my name is Carmen Aguirre and this is my ninth thought. So my seat mate who makes drones for the US Government, he talked about how one of the most incredible experiences he ever had was when he sat in front of a painting for a full hour at an art gallery and tried to decipher what it was telling him. He understood this whole thing about the grey area he wanted to know more about it – how one goes about looking for the grey area.

Hi my name is Carmen Aguirre and this is my eighth thought.  So, there I was talking to my seat mate and he was telling me that what he loves about his job of making drones for the US government is that it’s black and white, that all he has to do is manufacture these drones and get the bad guys in the middle east. And I told him that my line of work is almost the opposite: it is all about working in the gray area and looking for the complexity of the human experience.

Hi my name is Carmen Aguirre and this is my seventh thought. So, speaking of labour versus the art world…I was on a plane yesterday, here in the United States, where I am for a week, and my seat mate was a man who had voted for Trump, and is on the Christian right and whose job it is to manufacture drones for the US government. We had a long talk, a very pleasant talk and he showed a lot of interest in the world of art in the world of ideas

Hi my name is Carmen Aguirre and this is my sixth thought. So, I am wondering how to bring that sense of camaraderie that I experienced in the labour world, of being a waitress, or working the assembly line at the factory, which I did, into the world of being creative, into the world of ideas where I spend most of my day staring at a computer screen, wracking my brains and exhausting myself and depleting myself and not having the energy of other people who are all working on the same thing to bring us forward

Hi my name is Carmen Aguirre and this is my fifth thought.  So, there I am with my pal at the cafe and he is telling me about how he left the theatre world because he was so tired of the solitude around being an artist and I remember when I was an actress for 4 years in my early twenties and the camaraderie around being a waitress and being around people all day, and how much I miss that, and how can I possibly bring that feeling into my life of creation?

Hi my name is Carmen Aguirre and this is my fourth thought.  So there I am talking to my neighbourhood pal who used to be a theatre artist and is now a bartender and he’s saying how is misses living in the world of ideas, and I am thinking about how attractive the world of labour seems to me in that moment, and he tells me that one of the reasons he left the theatre was because he was so tired of the solitude, that just couldn’t deal with the solitude of being an artist anymore, and I think about that.


Hi my name is Carmen Aguirre and this is my third thought.  So, I am talking to my neighbourhood acquaintance and he is talking about how he left theatre school and is now a bartender and that he misses living in the world of ideas, and this gets me to thinking…what it is like to live in the world of labour, the world where you just physically labour…. as opposed to spending the whole day trying to come up with ideas, which can be exhausting on its own.

Hi, my name is Carmen Aguirre and this is my second thought. I was talking about exhaustion when you are trying to be creative and make a living as an artist. The other day I was at my local café working on the second draft of new play Anywhere But Here and I bumped into old neighbourhood acquaintance who had done a couple of terms at theatre school and is now a bartender, and we talked about living in the world of ideas.

Hi, my name is Carmen Aguirre and this is my first thought. I’m thinking a lot about exhaustion, depletion, complete fatigue when it comes to artistic creation…And what one can possibly do about it when one makes a living as an artist and is expected to keep creating and keep creating output? That is my thought for today.



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About the Author

Carmen Aguirre is a Vancouver-based theatre artist and author. She has written and co-written twenty-five plays, including Blue Box, The Trigger, and The Refugee Hotel, and has eighty film, television, and stage acting credits. Her second memoir, Mexican Hooker #1 and My Other Roles Since the Revolution was published in April 2016 to outstanding reviews in Canada and the United Kingdom, and is a Globe and Mail bestseller. Her first book, the critically-acclaimed Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter, won CBC Canada Reads 2012 and is a #1 national bestseller. Her short story Open Fire was recently published in The Irish Times, and her short story Our Lady of San Juan River was published in the Spring 2016 issue of Room magazine. She is currently working on three new plays, Anywhere But Here, Broken Tailbone, and The Trial of Tina Modotti. Carmen is the recipient of the Hispanic Business Alliance's 2014 Ten Most Influential Hispanics in Canada Award, Latincouver's 2014 Most Inspirational Latin Award, the 2014 Betty Mitchell Outstanding Actor Award for her work in Alberta Theatre Projects' The Motherfucker with The Hat, the 2012 Langara College Outstanding Alumna Award, the 2011 Union of B.C. Performers' Lorena Gale Woman of Distinction Award, and the 2002 New Play Centre Award for Best New Play, for The Refugee Hotel. Carmen is a graduate of Studio 58.