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.

 

 

 

 

30min Writing Workout – YOU ARE A POET!

Charlie Dark has been my mentor now for a good 8 years and every time we talk he reminds me… DEBORAH, YOU ARE A POET, the dancing, the grime, fitness, it is all great but strip it all away and at your core, you are a poet, do not forget that. 

BUT IT IS SO EASY. Especially at the moment as I am still recruiting a team for my show and there is loads of additional non-writerly things to do, I have every excuse in the world just millimetres away. So this is my no excuses, even if you have to do it on a train or on the toilet – WRITE F***ING NOW CAUSE YOU ARE A WRITER exercise of the day.

 

DRAFT 1 

Choose a commute you are taking (for me today it was from Sloane Sq. to Liverpool Street), put your headphones in, ideally music you love but don’t usually write too (this is a thing for me atm, and today it was Afro Jack) and write nonstop (no care for typos or being embarrassed about the woman peering over your shoulder) till the end of that journey. If you get stuck, just chuck in an image or scent you can see around you. This is my first draft, I have left all the Dyslexia in there so you can see how rough it is! 

 

Sharp shoulder blends into yellow pole,

Sometimes I feel like a a yellow;

Line, double, highlighter, fluorescent piss,

 

A bottle of barocha, single buscuit

Bottom of plastic value wishing well.

Wishing myself well. I miss all my exes on Sunday mornings, yet I’m terrified of people, want to order pizza but I’m convinced the 17 year old at the counter

Will spell the Wray Neph and neglect.

White rum tastes of miscilaneous shame.

 

My cheek stuck to his chest.

And I half enjoy feeling our sweat congeal underneath me in the morning light.

But I pull the cover in between our skin.

Feel the moisture suck into the fabric.

The salty crusts of morning.

 

A stranger swings an unretracted umbrella from his wrist, heavy and fun as an appendage.

 

Rows of shoes and fidgets.

It’s hard to look someone in the eyes

When the crotch and armpits are so close.

Fall asleep and wake up to the imprint of a zip on your cheek.

 

Pull this white sofa we are attempting sleep on into two, like a giant marshmallow, sometimes there is more space if you rip something up – extend the surface area. Lift your shirt up so your stomachs can touch.

 

Forget to wash the Tupperware after lunch. My bag smells so strongly of the colour green I don’t think my note book will recover.

 

I tend not to shower for the 24 hours after. It’s never conscious. Maybe I just want to keep the space you have left for a while. Suss it out, you out, us out.

 

I worked love out without you.

Where do I fit u.

Where do I fit.

Do I wear.

Do I fit.

 

DRAFT 2:

Give it a sec. Don’t read it, just lock your phone and finish your commute, have your dinner, wait till lunch or whatever, just let it ferment in your pocket for a bit. Then when you get some actual space, copy and paste it into a word doc. and turn on a new track list that you love but don’t usually write to (for me, Home Sweet Home by Kano) and edit. I chose to edit to find the core, the story, I wanted to see all the images and for there to be a sense of 2 people but in a wider world, vehicle or commute if it will. I also just wanted to feel free with the lineation so just tried to play on instinct and not think toooo much at this point. 

 

 

His sharp shoulder blends into the yellow pole,

supposed to be rush hour stability but

sometimes, I feel like a line… double,

highlighter,

fluorescent piss,                         a bottle

 

Berocca,

 

single beige biscuit on bedside table

bottom of plastic value wishing well.

Wishing…myself…(hand to big for noisy packaging)      Well?

 

Well, I miss all my exes on Sunday mornings,

 

yet I’m terrified of people, would order pizza but

I’m convinced the 17-year-old at the counter will smell

the Wray Neph,

the miscellaneous shame. My cheek

 

is stuck

 

to his chest. And I half enjoy it

sweat congealing,

clinging the way I imagine velcro does up close

tiny translucent hands desperate to stay together,

but kids feet grow

so fast              I pull the cover

in between his chest and my cheek

feel moisture suck fabric.

 

The salty crusts of morning.

 

(A stranger swings a flaccid umbrella from his wrist, heavy and fun as if an appendage.) Rows of shoes and fidgets. It’s hard to look someone in the eyes when crotch and armpits are so close. Fall asleep and wake up to the imprint of a zip on your cheek.

 

This white sofa we are attempting sleep on –

could we tear it like a giant marshmallow?

Sometimes there is more space if you rip something up – extend the surface area.

 

He lifts his shirt up so your stomachs can touch.

I forget to wash the Tupperware after lunch. My bag smells

I don’t think my note book will recover.

 

I tend not to shower for the 24 hours after. It’s never conscious. Maybe

I just want to keep his space

for a while.

 

 

 

 

Till it feels like mine.

 

Draft 3

Turn off the music. Read it out loud, cut any image or line that you can not see/hear/touch/taste/experience. Watch the movie that is the poem in your head and give it a title. (I might have to make a misc. series)…

 

Miscellaneous Shame

 

His spine is a yellow handrail on the Circle Line

supposed rush hour stability, but

sometimes, I feel like the line –

 

double, highlighter, fluorescent piss, a

bottle… Berocca, maybe?

Single beige biscuit

on bedside table. Bottom

of plastic value wishing well.

Wishing…

 

myself…(hand to big for noisy packaging)

Well? Well, I miss all my exes on Sunday mornings,

 

yet I’m terrified of people,

would order pizza but

I’m convinced the 17-year-old at the counter will

smell the Wray Neph,

the miscellaneous shame. My cheek

 

is stuck

 

to his chest. And I half enjoy it

sweat congealing,

clinging the way I imagine Velcro does

if you look closely – tiny translucent hands –

– desperate to stay together –

 

but kids feet grow so fast.

I pull the cover in between his chest – and my cheek – the salty crusts of morning –

 

(A stranger swings a flaccid umbrella from his wrist,

heavy and fun as an appendage.) Rows of shoes and fidgets.

It’s hard to look someone in the eyes when crotch and armpits

are so close. Fall asleep and wake up to the imprint of a zip on your cheek.

 

This white sofa we are attempting sleep on –

could we tear it like a giant marshmallow?

Sometimes there is more space if you rip something up – extend the surface area –

 

He lifts his shirt up so your stomachs can touch.

I forget to wash the Tupperware after lunch. My bag smells

I don’t think my note book will survive… (or recover?)

 

I tend not to shower for the 24 hours after. It’s never conscious. (Maybe?)

I just want to keep his space

for a while.

 

 

 

 

Till it feels like mine(?)

 

 

p.s. Lovely Photography by – Aileen Wessely www.farbanomalie.de