Writing Workout (90min bedtime/morning) – Honesty vs. Truth

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.

 

 

 

 

Writing Workout (30min) – Disruption as Opportunity

My mantra this year is disruption as opportunity, as someone that spends a lot of time planning, for a long time, disruption to that plan caused me immense anxiety. But at some point, I think it was when I learned about liveness in performance – the idea that if a crow were to fly on the stage as I perform my poem, I should acknowledge and incorporate the crow as apposed to ignore and fight it (because the crow was not in my said plan). I can still plan, edit meticulously, spend years on a poem, but actually if I want that poem to be delivered in an exacting way I can publish it or make a Youtube video but a LIVE performance is kind of about disruption, is a about a finite moment within which anything can happen. This shift in perception, that I stopped waiting in fear for something to go wrong and starting excitingly anticipating an opportunity for change, serendipity, surprise, growth has made me a much happier human and better creative. 

So, todays writing workout is all about embracing disruption which is kind of ironic because out of all the workouts I have posted with definitely went the least smoothly!

As always, I will be keeping dyslexia in every draft as evidence of my human-ness and also because sometimes they typos are more interesting!)

 

  1. Initial free write 10-15MIN – you can do less if you want of course but I actually needed this time. Write non-stop, no editing, re-reading etc. but every line must end with the words; but, if, cause, or no. (I actually stole this from Too Far, by Dizzee Rascal which I am currently analysing for my grime-poetry show). I find this so hard, I have actually kept some notes I made to myself in the free write to keep me going…

Freewrite

 

Sometimes I dance on speakers but

That doesn’t mean I don’t have a degree so

I also like reading poetry on the central line but

I can still listen to bashment at the same time but

That doesn’t mean you can touch me there cause

My body still belongs to me.

 

(stop telling Deborah start showing)

 

I’ve never been in a fight but

I did once smash a mans head against a speaker cause

He tried to grab my punananananoo cause

I was moving my waist freely and

Headstand on the speakerbox so

must be fine to grab ‘er up so.

 

I’ve never given anyone head but

A 6ft4 guy asked in a rave once, said I would rather lick the floor cause

I hate being backed into a corner when I just want to dance so

He said he could head but me sharp, so

I said cool give the police a reason to come cause

I’m tired of man having this mentality and

I can jump in your DM’s when I got a girlfriend cause

If you call me out on my comments but

What’s rong with you girl I was just joking yeah, so

If I screen shot this and send it to your misses yeah?

I’ll be a drama queen cause

I’m a feminist and even I’ll call a girl a slag cause

If I’m tusty, blusky, horney and

I can’t grab a man without feeling guilty but

I’m new to this but

People like to speak to a blank slate so

Girls toilets, Mac Donalds, Queue of Oceana so

 

(SKIIIRRRRRRTT – felt like this wasn’t going somewhere… need to gain some traction).

 

 

She’s next to the DJ booth but

She’s just laughing, face so open it’s like I want to walk in but

My hips are like that drunk toddler run; excited, unaware of space and vibrating but

Her eyes slice through people but

The whole room is usually staring at me but

But but but but but but, gender neutral toilets

GEORGE WHAT ARE YOU DOING

But me and George are kissing in the smoking area BUT

GEORGE YOU’RE GAY, but

George just felt like he needed to but

I did too and you curl up in the porch of your own house but

Both doors are locked and you are hugging your knees like a giant soft toy turtle that helps you sleep but you can’t sleep cause you are crying until blood vessles pop and there is so much red over your skin, colour shifting like a tongue under a hard boiled sweet and

They are inside, and they open the door, and they bend down to pick you up but you are too heavy they they have to squeeze into the porch with you and you feel like one of those glass boxes with all the Pixar toys in, one on top of another, waiting for a giant metal crain to try and get you but at least you have eachother, the softness of your bodies.

 

 

EDITING –

…. Keep what has weight

… if it’s too hard I just cut it (still got it saved in the draft above)

10min

 

2. Editing Phase 1  – 10min. I really feel that free write made no sense for me, so I needed an initial 10min just to read it, cut anything that made NO sense and expand on the images/ideas that felt fruitful for me. 

 

Sometimes I headstand on speakers but

I also read Heaney on the central line so

I’ve never been in a real fight but

I did smash mans head against the DJ booth cause

He reached for my punananananooo (or

phanoola as my god daughter calls it yeah)

 

I’ve never given anyone head but

A 6ft4 guy asked in a rave once, said I’d rather lick the floor cause

I’m tired on man having this mentality and

He can jump in your DM’s when

he got a girlfriend cause

If you call him out on his comments but

What’s rong with you girl I was just joking so

Should I screen shot this and post it yeah?

Why you gota be a drama queen uh?

 

People like to speak to a blank slate so

Girls toilets, Mac D’s, Night queues so

 

She’s next to the DJ booth but

drunk toddler run but

But but but but but but,

GEORGE WHAT ARE YOU DOING But

me and George are kissing in the smoking area BUT

GEORGE YOU’RE GAY, but

I curl up in the porch but

both doors are locked I’m are hugging my knees like a giant soft toy turtle that helps me sleep but I can’t sleep cause I’m crying, popping bloody vessles and there is so much red over my skin, colour shifting like a tongue under a hard boiled sweet and

They are inside, and they open the door, and they bend down to pick you up but you are too heavy they they have to squeeze into the porch with you and you feel like one of those glass boxes with all the Pixar toys in, one on top of another, waiting for a giant metal crain to try and get you – the softness of your bodies.

 

3. Editing Phase 2: Be savage/ cut out as much as you can/ and don’t be scared to stick whole words and phases together that once were in complete different stanza’s. Play, disrupt, surprise yourself/ Choose a set stanza length (I have gone with 3 line stanza’s) just to give you a format to edit into.

 

I’ve never been in a real fight but

I did once place my hand

flat on the side of a strangers head, and smash it

 

bounced

off Perspex sheath

encasing the DJ

 

He’d reached for my punananananooo (or

phanoola as my god daughter calls it). I’ve never

given anyone head but

 

A 6ft4 guy asked in a rave once when I was 15, I said,

I’d rather lick the floor cause

I’m tired

 

girls toilets, Mac D’s, night queues

drunk toddler run but

But but but but but, BUT

 

GEORGE WHAT ARE YOU DOING? But

me and George were just kissing in the smoking area BUT

GEORGE YOU’RE GAY. But

 

I flat pack myself into the porch so

I can close both doors

hug my knees like giant soft toy turtles that helps me sleep but

 

I can’t sleep cause I’m popping bloody vessels

so much red, my colour shifting like a tongue under hard boiled sweet.

They are inside. And They open the door, and

 

They bend down to pick me up but I am too empty

So They have to squeeze into the porch with me and

I feel like we are in one of those glass boxes with all the Pixar toys

 

one on top of another,

the softness of your bodies

to light to claw, grab or lift.

 

 4. Actually Draft: Give it a title/ CUT EVEN MORE/ change the stanza formation to something that feels like it has logic, I have chosen something irregular but symmetrical(ish) to hold this stream of conciousness.

 

A Real Fight

 

I’ve never been in a real fight but

I did once place my hand

flat on the side of a stranger’s head, and smash it

bounced it

off the Perspex sheath

encasing the DJ.

He’d reached for my punananananooo (or

phanoola as my god daughter calls it). I’ve never

given anyone head but

a 6ft4 guy asked in a rave once when I was 15, I said,

I’d rather lick the floor cause

I’m tired

girls toilets, Mac D’s, night queues

drunk toddler run but he said maybe I wanted a head-but

(and I thought, go ahead, then the police have a ‘real reason’ to come) but

but but but but but but but but but but but but, BUT

GEORGE WHAT ARE YOU DOING? But

me and George were just kissing in the smoking area BUT

GEORGE YOU’RE GAY. But

I flat-pack myself into the porch so

I can close both doors

hug my knees like giant soft toy turtles that help me sleep but

I can’t sleep cause

so much red, my colour shifting like a tongue under a hard boiled sweet.

They open the door, and They

bend down to pick me up but

I am too full of fog, so they squeeze

into the porch with me and

I feel

like we are in a Perspex box

with 30 odd other soft toy turtles

the clouds of our bodies, sweets in a jar – too light

for a claw, or fist or child

to grab, grope or lift.