Thought Resident: Mariah Horner

Thought Resident: Mariah Horner


Hello, this is Mariah Horner and this is Thought #14, my last thought.

Today I’m thinking about rigour. I’m thinking about um…the…artists and the people and the peers that I look up most…that I look most up to are those who are rigourous.

And I think that rigor is so sexy. Finishing a thing all the way to the end of it and being relentlessly curious about something that you explore all the corners is, for me, one of the most admirable traits about people.

And I want to challenge myself to be more rigourous, be more rigourous in every aspect of my life. Be relentlessly curious. Do the thing all the way to the end. Just like this residency.

Thank you all so much for listening. If you did, it’s been a hoot.


Hello, this is Mariah Horner and this is Thought #12 (no it’s not, it’s #13).

And last night I went for a run having not ran in a very long time and it felt terrible but also felt amazing and um…I was thinking about one of the reasons I love running so much is that I love…I’ve never been a very athletic person and I love with running that you always get back exactly what you put in. You just have to show up, you just have to try and you just have to run and every time you run it gets easier. It doesn’t matter about your skill it really just matters about you showing up.

And…I think more things in life are like this than we give credit for? You know so many things just require you to show up and just putting yourself in those running shoes or putting yourself in that room….you’d be surprised at the output you get depending on how hard you try.


Good morning this is Mariah Horner and this is Thought #12.

And this morning I’m thinking about Patrick Conner. I didn’t know him before, but I know him now. He was a very celebrated artist – an actor, a director – he worked in Toronto but he also came from Kingston and he worked a lot here.

I’m thinking a lot about him…because…you know…I’m thinking about what it means to really change the world through your work. And I know we all think we’re doing that. We put something out there and it affects people and it affects imagination and it comes back to us and we see that the world has changed and you know…one thing I’m really moved by Patrick, and you know his work with Big Carrot, it’s about created a healthy society it’s about understanding that the work that you put out in the world can affect a civil imagination. It can affect more than just one person at a time, it’s about a society, it’s about a culture, it’s about something that is nurtured.


Good morning this is Mariah Horner and this is Thought #11.

And I don’t know if this happens to any of you but sometimes I wake up and I have an immediate thought about something that is gonna happen during the day. Often for me it is breakfast….immediately when I wake up I know what I want for breakfast. But TODAY when I woke up it was a beautiful fucking day, it is blue skies all around in Kingston.

And uh…I’m lucky enough to have an office that is very close to the Gord Edgar Downie Pier which is an awesome new public urban beach that the city of Kingston built. SO when it is a beautiful day that means I go swimming. At lunch! Swimming! at Lunch!

So today I woke up thinking how fucking lucky I am that I get to jump in the lake, the St. Lawrence, on a beautiful sunny day in the middle of August, in the middle of my workday. Have a great Thursday everybody.

Hello this is Mariah Horner and this is Thought #10.

And…this morning I’m very tired [laughs]…and I’m really tired because I stayed up very late with a friend of mine who is going through some very difficult stuff and as I was leaving his house I wanted to tell him how proud I was of him but I stumbled all over my word choice because….I feel like the word proud carries some patronizing tones…and I think about this all the time…that I wish there was another word for pride… for for being proud of somebody who’s like the same age as you or proud for somebody who’s in the same moment as you.

Adoration? Admiration? I don’t know.


Good morning this is Mariah Horner and this is Thought #….9!

And this morning I’m thinking about…well I’ve been thinking about it all weekend actually…um…I love this book by Sarah Ruhl. It’s called “A Hundred Essays I Don’t Have Time to Write” and it’s like a hundred little paragraphs unpacking little things very briefly um…and I generally like this kind of writing it keeps me squirrely.

Um…but in the book she talks about this quote that she uses with her son which is “it’s beautiful but I don’t like it”. And um…you know I’ve seen some theatre and seen some art this summer that I wasn’t exactly inspired by and I challenge myself to use that phrase every time I get backed into a corner of like “that was bad” or “I didn’t dig that” just because I didn’t dig it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t exist.


Hello this is Mariah and this is thought #8.

And uh…today I had somebody ask me what my favourite lyric was. And I was thinking about the fact that I’ve never really been good at having like favourite movies, or favourite plays, or favourite albums and I was thinking about the reasons and you know… I think it’s because…I don’t hoard things I love. I think it’s because I love to rediscover things that I love all the time, you know…and maybe that keeps me forgetful and um…but I feel like it always keeps me guessing it always…it also…I have…beauty forced upon me all the time. I’m reminded of things all the time, things that I love. I could catalogue them.


Hello this is Mariah Horner and this is Thought #7.

And this morning my favourite painter died, Mary Pratt. She…uh…was a painter from Newfoundland and I still remember the first time I ever saw one of her exhibits. I was at The Rooms, an awesome museum in St. John’s, Newfoundland and I was struck by her ability to make everyday objects look exceptionally and unimaginably beautiful. And I know that’s a silly word to use but it was foil and salmon carcass’ and cartons of eggs that looked like…you know…it could hang in the Louvre. And…um…I’m….I’ve always been really moved by the ability to remind us that um…everyday life is exquisite.


Good morning this is Mariah Horner and this is Thought #6.

And I went to bed thinking about it and I woke up thinking about it – Darrah Teitel’s brilliant article on what’s going on at ATP. I think she totally hit the nail on the head when she talks about the fact that communities own arts organizations. That there is a certain responsibility to look to the world you’re producing in to understand who you should be.

And yes I’m not saying that we need to have an AGM or a referendum for ever decision that’s being made within an arts organization no, but what I am saying is that I think the reason that this is such a disaster (what’s going on at ATP) is this dude parachuted in, made a decision like a traditional business without real context from the community and the community said no, this is not who we are, this is not the kind of work we wanna support, this is not who we believe we should be moving forward and I feel like I see this all the time.


Hello this is Mariah and this is my fifth thought.

And today I’m home actually in the suburbs visiting my parents and I drove around a bunch today and I was struck by how little everything has changed. I think because the burbs don’t change, I noticed how much my parents change. And you know…it’s an age old thing that everybody knows they should go home to visit their parents but…I should really go home to visit my parents more. I’m lucky that they’re so close to me and I’m embarrassed and I’m bummed that I don’t do a better job at staying in touch. And um….

Not the burbs though [laughs] I don’t miss the burbs. I don’t miss the suburbs at all.

Have a good weekend everyone.


Hello. This is Mariah and this is Thought #4.

And this morning I am thinking about mentorship…I know I’ve had a yearlong under the Metcalf with two organizations and although this mentorship afforded me SO MUCH professional growth in arts administration I kind of think that it’s um…also affected my abilitiy to trust my own instincts when it comes to making decisions.

You know, I value mentorship as a practical learning-based thing but I also learned that right now I feel like I am thrust into a sea alone and I can’t make decisions without talking to a lot of other people and maybe that’s a good thing in theatre, maybe it’s a good thing for my career path because I’m interested in collaborative learning but I also think it sometimes makes me distrust my own instincts and I wonder if there is a word for personal mentorship? Like if you could separate yourself into two people? I don’t know.


Hello this is Mariah and this is thought number three and this morning I’m thinking about Brian’s Record Option.

If you’re from Kingston, you definitely know that this happened and if you’re not I’m here to tell you about Brian’s Record Option. It’s the coolest place in Kingston. It’s a record store that has 80,000 records and 20,000 cassettes and even more CDs and books and posters and the coolest fucking dude in town and last week he had a flood and water rose up from his basement and up waste deep and books and records and posters came pouring out of the store onto Princess street and this morning I’m thinking about how you can possibly replace something that’s irreplaceable and what happens when you’re angry and mournful for the loss of something that was no one’s fault but it was an accident but it’s such a huge hole in the heart of the city and I am heartbroken and optimistic about my community’s ability to rebuild things that are precious.


Hello, this is Mariah Horner and this is my second thought.

This morning I’m thinking a lot about the difference between a company and an enterprise and the people that work…within it. So I’m involved right now in a transition with um…a company I work for and today I am tasked with transferring all of the contacts for the relationships and the stories that were told this year.

And I’m feeling really protective and stubborn about that and I think the reason is because I’m struggling with understanding that um, especially in a community-based endeavour with relationships that are mined and sweat for and cared for….I’m having trouble understanding that is owned by a company and that is not owned by the individuals that worked to nurture those relationships. Obviously I’m very protective of um…people that I connect with and I’m all for knowledge sharing I really am, but maybe this is my ego or my naïveté but I’m struggling with it. I’m grappling with it.


Hello. My name is Mariah Horner and this is my first thought of the August Thought Residency in 2018 with SpiderWebShow.  And today I’m thinking about…something that I think that I should be worried about but I’m not. And I always wonder if other people do this…and if your brain is tricking you into be worry – into worrying about that something you shouldn’t be worried about because you’re not worried about it in the first place.

I finished a year-long internship today. And I don’t really know what’s next for me. And I’m not worried. I’m excited. And I don’t know, maybe if I should be worried? And I’m sure my mother is maybe listening to this and she’s like…”you should be worried”.

But I’m not. I feel ready. And empty and full. And excited.



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About the Author

Mariah Horner is an artist based in Kingston, Ontario and is currently the Digital Content Producer with SWS and foldA. Selected credits include: assistant directing Unholy (GCTC, upcoming), directing Hana Hashimoto: Sixth Violin (Thousand Islands Playhouse, 2019), and assistant directing Behaviour (GCTC/SpiderWebShow, 2019). She is the Festival Director of CFRC's Shortwave Theatre Festival and helmed Kingston's Storefront Fringe Festival from 2016-2018. Co-founding the Cellar Door Project with Devon Jackson in 2013, Mariah has produced 15 original site-specific works in Kingston and Ottawa. Mariah played Kate Unger in George F. Walker’s HBO Canada Series Living in Your Car and has an an MA in Theatre Theory & Dramaturgy from uOttawa. She has been published by SpiderWebShow, Visit Kingston, Canadian Theatre Review, the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario. She is currently writing a book on Participatory Performance in Canada with Dr. Jenn Stephenson.