Monday, 24 February 2014

Writing Process - Blog Tour

I was asked to participate in this blog tour by Jean Atkin. Its purpose is to share current activities, link writers to their wider community and to spend a little time considering the latest project - which could be either to tantalize readers or to give me the opportunity to chew over what exactly I'm doing. Either way, we get four questions to structure the post around:

Right now I'm working a new artists'-pamphlet. It began life as a hyperlinked story about the first of the big storms to hit us here back in December 2013. It has four interconnected pieces - maybe prose poems, maybe prose - that spin off from the moment of the high water. I stumbled upon a nifty way of presenting the pieces in a fold-out booklet, but have been struggling with upping the juice of it a little more. It just didn't quite cut the mustard. I'd set quite a high bar with Sea-creatures. So I've been faffing about illustrations, images, and paper weight and texture and am ready to test drive another prototype with tracing paper. I'll let you know the outcome...

How it differs from other work of its genre is a tricky question, especially since it's not finished. I suspect I'm too close to my work to be accurate and I don't know everything that is out there to compare myself to. Plus, I'm not sure comparing myself to 'other work in its genre' is that helpful - it's a job distinct from this blog. I went to see Inside Llewyn Davies at the weekend and found it even more affecting than previous Cohen Brothers' films. It's about being good but not good enough - or rather not being deemed good enough by the big say-sos in the music industry. Throughout the film there are comparisons made with other folk singers who all are given the break that Llewyn Davies really wants and perhaps needs more than they. And yet he couldn't sing in any other way. He was being true to his heart and self. That was what made the film so painful.

I write about the sea because I'm fascinated in how long can I write about it and find something new to say; how long will I keep myself interested? Keep others interested? A dangerous challenge to have set myself...

As for my writing process. Ha. Tom Chivers was complaining about the same old three questions he gets asked when interviewed for Penned in the Margins: (1) what do I think about performance poetry vs spoken word, (2) how does my writing affect my editing, (3) what am I looking for? And because it was on Facebook there were a bunch of sarcastic questions in the thread that followed which have completed clouds my thinking around this innocent question. So I'll write about my booklet-making process which is new to me so I haven't talked about ad infinitum... I'll have a poem or selection of poems that I think deserve being made into an object, clustered and built up somehow. Then I try to think how they can be best presented as a concrete thing. It's like turning words into a sculptural form. I want to enhance the poems, make the act of reading them bring out their themes and engage the reader more in the physical origin of them. It also acts as a great excuse for not writing new things. I'm busy developing existing work.  

Next week, hopefully, the blog tour continues with Naomi Foyle, novelist, poet and intellect extraordinaire, and Maya Chowdhry, art-activist, poet, playwright and digital explorer.

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