I said two blogs ago that I was going to start filming poems and putting them online, just as a way of practising, and I still haven’t done that....it’s on my list for tomorrow. But at least now I know why I was holding back. It was my fear of being judged, not being liked, not being polished enough. All that shit has to go now. And if I try filming thing and it’s not for me, then I know I need to try another way. I’ve already sent the first draft of the script to a trusted friend and collaborator, I’ve approached a previous collaborator to record a voiceover with me, I emailed the last producer I worked with...I don’t care if it’s not quite ready, if not now then when? I now know that all this dragging my heels didn’t happen because I was unmotivated or undisciplined. I was genuinely afraid of how the work would be received. But I think back to when I moved from burlesque into doing ‘Frontal Lobotomy’ and people saying then how much of a departure it was from my previous guises. And then after the scratch performances of ‘Testy Manifesto’ them saying “Well, it’s a bit different from your last show.” I’m glad it’s different. This is where I am now.
I don’t think a creative process gets any easier the more you do it, you just have more grace. You know it’s going to be difficult at points, and those challenges get easier to reconcile. Like when a relationship ends, it doesn’t make it any less hurtful, but you know that you managed before, and so will do again. Despite how well ‘Frontal Lobotomy’ did for me, the reviews, awards and audience numbers, I know there were some people who didn’t like it. I really have to get comfortable with not being ‘liked’ now, as what I’ve produced this time is far more confrontational. It shares many features with FL; anthology style, puppets, A LOT of words, but no burlesque this time. I had a ball with burlesque, but that side of me no longer feels appropriate.
On a completely random side note, I’ve been training to be a funeral celebrant. Somehow my writing and performing experience, and my latent goth tendencies, not only have an outlet, but a market too. My pre-coursework was to write the funeral for someone real or imagined, and I chose Tom Waits. My course tutor was so taken aback at this rather epic funeral I’d planned that he’s urged me to continue with it, and deliver it for my assessment. There is music in there from Leadbelly and Captain Beefheart, and the eulogy begins with ‘Thomas Alan Waits was born at a very young age in Pomona, California.’ I wouldn’t have even begun thinking I was poetical without Waits, he has a lot to answer for.
PS: A story that I wrote, that didn’t turn out how I expected...
The mouth of the cave was small, indiscriminate, indistinct, indignant. No one knew how far back the cave went, they all assumed it was bigger on the inside, but no one had ever ventured far enough. You probably wouldn’t even notice it if you walked past, and many did walk past, it being situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty. No one felt compelled to have their picnic there, and so no litter was left. It remained wild, wild and unremarkable. Inside the cave lived a group of three beings, whom one by one had spontaneously materialised, over an indeterminate period of time. You couldn’t call them friends, but occupying the same space as they did brought a level of familiarity.
The first of the three to appear arrived in the shape of a small red tricycle, and for a long time he sat alone, not knowing how he’d got there, not daring to go outside. The second being to appear arrived as a red haze at first, and then took the shape of a white rose, her petals already a bit wilted and spoiled, but her stem thick and spiky. The tricycle and the rose sat and waited. Somehow they knew, in all their numb confusion, that a third being would soon materialise, and that they would give them the answers they needed. Why are we here? Who made us? And why can’t we leave this place?
The silence surrounded them until a tiny blue frog with black beady eyes appeared and began croaking incessantly. It seemed luminous in the darkness, and had a kind of frantic bravery, that cut through their inertia, and ruffled them into action. Working together, they explored the cave, the rose riding on the tricycle and the frog leading and lighting the way. “What’s out there?” The frog croaked, indicating the mouth of the cave, and hopped towards it, the other two obediently following.
Suddenly the whole cave glowed with a ruby luminescence, the ground beneath them shifted, the walls began shuddering, and wind that came from deep within the cave lifted them and began sucking them inside. Up up they went, pulled by the wind, the ruby glow getting hotter and hotter, until all three of them had transmuted to fire. Bursting out of the earth and running down the newly formed peak as lava, they somehow knew it had to be this way, and they let go, cooling as they flowed, slowing as they hardened.
The rain came, the grass grew, and three flowers bloomed on the mountain. One red, one white and one blue. The wild yet unremarkable mouth of the cave closed over, but people often have their picnics on top of the mountain peak now. They don’t stay for long, and they always take their litter home with them.