Todays workout is a bit unorthodox, I had a really intense weekend starting with a good friends memorial at a church I find quiet traumatic to be in and and ending with a two day carnival extravaganza with a bigger crew of people I love than ever before. It was a very intense journey and as a result yesterday I felt quiet vacuous and unsure what to do with myself, before bed I found myself knowing I needed to write but reluctant to do so aka YOU DEFINITELY NEED TO WRITE DEBORAH.
So I sat at my hilariously cluttered desk (covered in the various things I have thrown at it whilst running in and out the house this weekend) and just:
1. Wrote freely, honestly and without a care for sense of fact but instead honestly for as long as I needed to. No timer, though I imagine it was 10ish minutes till it felt like I had got what I needed to get out from my system. Then, went to sleep.
2. When I woke up I set aside an hour (though it became 90minutes) to work wha tI had written into a draft of something, I won’t post the drafts because there is a lot of very sensitive personal information there but this really actually became the theme of the editing process. I wanted the piece to be truthful but I was conscious there were facts in there I either wasn’t comfortable sharing or it felt unnecessarily exposing of others to post. Here are some editing techniques I used to try and find the truth in chronological order…
- Expand on all imagery, colours, tastes, smells, textures.
- Edit into 4 line stanza’s and each line must contain a unit of meaning that can stand a lone, as must each stanza.
- Cut savagely – what is only working on one dimension?
- Cut savagely – what in here are you not comfortable sharing, if not, why and how can this transpire in an image, smell, taste, be woven into an existing metaphor?
- Step back, be a reader that knows nothing of this story and imaging the images/ sensory experiences of the piece as you read it- what can you cut, what doesn’t make sense, what can be compressed? + F*** the formal lineation and try something that feels more instinctive from the questions above.
This is what I was left with…
We Have Lost This Year
For Rob Anker and everyone else lost, 2017
Listen kids, love is a big red balloon, sadness is a small blue balloon
And happiness is a bouncy yellow balloon, etc. Simple, pure,
swiftly deflating and annoyingly easy to burst. In the grounds of a church
that held its own spire to my neck. Hundreds of us holding these hesitant orbs,
Will they float when we let go? I’ve written so much about him on the tags at the bottom.
My mum tells a horrendous story about two lesbians finding god
and getting a divorce, so they can live the law of chastity, because
they felt the hands of god (around their throats) I said I had never felt the hands of god
and she said but we know why that is, LOOK IT’S A MASSIVE MUSHROOM,
A BRACKET OR BEEF MUSHROOM YOU CAN EAT THOSE…
and dad said he will have to take mums word for it.
So, we all stand with these heavy balloons as the convoy of grieving motorbikes rev.
A smoke alarm goes off in the chapel. When we let go, we point up at the sky,
watch the balloons struggle, a few drop into stranger’s gardens. But most,
eventually, get smaller and smaller and smaller and I don’t
want to put my finger down from the sky. In some other universe, city or time zone,
it’s Carnival, and a girl puts her hands around my past without flinching.
A man gives out free alcoholic ice poles. At 3pm we have a minute’s silence
for Grenfell Tower. we stand with our fists in the air, eyes down; paint, mud, gas canisters, confetti. We are slightly out of time with another sound system so towards the end
horns and hips start up again on an adjacent road until our MC has to speak
about a boy on this street who passed away this year, and give memory to everyone
/thing we have lost, and she hugs me so fast it as if (maybe) I was about to fall
or take off or burst and she needed to catch me
with unfazed fingers between the red, yellow and blue tassels of my dress.
That silent staggered minute growing smaller and smaller and smaller.