Monday, October 25, 2010

Compelling content?

Dear You,

Someone just tweeted an article about 'how to write compelling content' or somesuch. It's 4.49am. I'm annoyed. Why aren't I working on the book. I have no compelling content for my blog, I'm afraid!! I'm not compelling content. I'm sitting here in a massive cardigan. It's freezing. I'm just struggling with my craft and getting up and going to sleep and trying to stay on top of my cleaning and do some half decent parenting and trying not to kill all the losers in my life while trying to show love to the people who do actually care. I feel like an alien today. I wonder sometimes what this place is, where I've arrived? This culture, these times... they are so odd. In an earlier post, I said 'weird and pale in the guts' and thats exactly how it feels.

On the one hand, amazing things can be accomplished via technological advancements! Art, ideas and information can be disseminated instantly. Like-minded people can link thoughts all around the world. All of this is tremendously powerful but, on the flipside, I feel we are becoming more and more 'virtual' in our outlook, and there's pressure to become 'compelling content'. I'm an artist, so I sink or swim on whether or not I can attract attention to myself and thusly to my product. How healthy is that? Twitter, again, can be a powerful resource but it's also a 140-characters-or-less shouting contest. I go periods without feeling the earth. Where is earth in virtual world? Everyone has an online avatar, a collection of witty soundbites and flattering pictures, and we're all trying to prove what 'compelling content' we are as individuals, :-)ing our faces off at each other. LOLing to the point of throwing up. How can it not make real life seem less exciting in comparison? Everyone's tweeting every move and uploading pictures and unless that happens, it's almost like the event didn't happen. Does it give anyone else a sense of vertigo?

Life on FB is like the smell of popcorn - the smell of popcorn in theatres is how they get you! It never tastes as good as the smell! I feel like I'm Lost in Space sometimes... So many choices and so many bells and whistles everyones got commitmentphobia and attention deficit disorder. So much choice about all the things that don't matter. You can watch anything right now, know anything, google anything! But your government isn't listening to you, you can't remember the last time you had sex and you don't have a partner because 'you're not ready' and/or 'they're not ready' and we're all waiting for this magical day when we'll be perfectly aligned and Oprah-ed up (self-help is another post!!!) and we're all hurtling full-speed toward death with no awareness of our own extinction.

I am going to die. You are going to die. We are all going to die. I don't how much of that time I want to waste waiting for the red PINGs on FB or more followers on twitter. I want to throw my heart into life. I want to love. I want to cook and eat and dance and do 'it' loads and write things not cynically designed to be 'compelling content' but things that are beautiful and hard and elevate me while I'm writing them and wring me dry of all pretense and transport readers to a place of deep feeling and experience. I want to really BE here!!!

Gosh, but I AM already here.

I'm right here, in a massive cardigan that itches a bit. Speaking to you really early in the morning, via a medium I love/hate. And you'll know about this because I've synched my blog to twitter and FB.

Gosh, isn't it all so bloody complicated? Contradiction, thy name is wo/man!!

[throws resigned hands in air]

Love, passion and purity,


Thursday, October 21, 2010

"Britain just became a colder, crueller country - and for nothing."

The time for complacency is over. Being quiet and keeping our head down isn't going to work anymore. Silence in the face of tyranny is extinction. I have a poem I've been working on lately, and in it I use this image that has been surfacing in my head over and over, of the government as an abusive spouse. First it's the flowers and chocolates, and then it's the paranoia, watching you every second of the day, the manipulative devices to make you feel trusting/dependent/disempowered. And then, when he feels the wife is under control, the smile slides off his face and out come the fists.

The shocked silence after the cuts are like those minutes after an abusive husband comes home and the door slams shut. This is it. Subservience won't stop you getting hit. You must fight! Nothing will work but resistance, and letting these people in government know that they work for US, and without our co-operation, nothing can be done. Everything in me is disgusted with what is happening in this country, but I've not been able to express my thoughts as lucidly or as convincingly as in this article below by Johann Hari... check it out!



Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My Heart

My Heart - Free-Write 20/10/10

I am not afraid

I am not afraid to stand all alone

I am not afraid to stand all alone with everybody

I am everybody

I am everybody's love

I am everybody's love tearing open

I am standing

I am standing with my feet in the soil

I am standing with with my feet in the soil of the earth

I am standing with my feet in the soil of the earth that is my earth (mine!)

I am standing with my feet in the soil of the earth that is everybody's

earth all alone with everybody's love tearing open

with my feet in the soil with my head in the clouds

puffed up and floating all a-mingle with everybody's

vapourish dreams of thunder

crying rain down into the soil of everybody's earth

soil of everybody's love

dancing to my heart

everybody's heart

My heart is sweet, scarlet music.

I am not afraid!


Every so often I get a leap in understanding, a leap closer to myself, and everything in my life becomes clearer.

An actor/writer friend wanted me to take a look at a play he'd written, so in return, I asked for a little help with my performance technique. This was the day before yesterday, and it was all very informal. We just went through a couple of poems and he told me what he saw in them, and how to access the emotions of my work. As often happens in life, this exercise was illuminating in ways that extended beyond my performance technique. I realised that I try to shrink all the time, apologize for myself. I pull back when I long to go all out, I flake when I need to commit. I realised that I spend a lot of my time half-trying to express myself and half-trying to disappear. I had that little tutorial and it all clicked somehow. My entire being said: "ENOUGH!"

So the next day(yesterday), I did a poetry performance that was filmed for an internet TV show, Manorlogz. It was a poem I'd done before, but something had changed in me. I wore red heels. I stood up straight. I didn't bother with my habitual 'look at me, I'm a poet but I'm like, soooooo retarded' schtick but just paid attention to the piece and allowing myself to be alive on stage. It was liberating. It seemed like a microcosm of my life! All my shrinking had to stop!

Fast-forward to today and I did my Free-write Wednesday offering, and the feeling crystallised into words. Every so often, I read something back and I get that feeling, 'yes! that's exactly what I meant!' And it's almost like being understood by somebody else. My eyes welled up. It seemed to mean something. No dexterous wordplay, I haven't excited myself with form, but I've shocked myself with the epiphany that I am full of joy - from nowhere, from everywhere, just to BE here. I got that feeling again where it seemed there was a clue to the order of things inside me, and that everything was connected.. I think maybe all artists - maybe all people in general - are stretching their fingers toward the light, trying to feel the pattern, order and beauty of the universe under the suffering.

I am here. I'm here and I want to be here, deserve to be here, and need to be here exactly as I am, doing exactly what I do, feeling exactly what I feel. And you too!!!

Jeez, I'm such a hippie... lol!

Peas and gloves!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


the scream. edvard munch

It's 23.17. It feels later.
It feels like everything and everyone everywhere is asleep.
Isaiah is in his cosy, childish dreams.
My feet are cold. I still have my jacket and scarf on, and I've been back home for over two hours. I've made my tea too sweet. I think it was a subconscious effort to mother myself. I should be writing some book, but instead I'm doing this. I think perhaps it's the best thing though, because I've gotten into this weird place lately.
I have this thing, you know, that I do every week on facebook? Free-write wednesdays? Well I've missed it a couple of weeks, and I've not read anyone elses either. I've not read anything at all. It's like I'm trying desperately to keep still, and I don't know why. It's like I'm a predator waiting in the bushes for the right time to pounce. I have a predator's vulnerability, the last thing we generally think about in predators. I am all hunger and exhaustion, and my muscles ache from stillness. I don't know what I'm waiting for. I'm writing every day, but most of it doesn't feel useful. The parts that do seem useful are like a painfully beautiful glimpse of something, a fast fish under water, silvery then out of sight.
I'm feeling something, yes. I'm feeling something.
I can't reach myself though.

I'm listening to a poem in a foreign language. The rhythm is beautiful. Oh but does it say..... eh?
I tire myself like this. I'm not fit for public consumption. My facebook mostly falls silent as I scroll glumly through the events of others lives, smiling weakly sometimes, laughing, but feeling outside of it all. It's all so fun. I have nothing to add.
Who wants to hear about this crap all the time?
The loneliness. The work is bloody lonely. I barely understand what I'm trying to make, much less anyone else.
I'm jealous of everything outside of myself, just because it's outside of myself.
It feels like I'm shooting past a book, like the book is actually on the way somewhere. Home? I don't know.
It's the work, the actual intricate work of the thing that feels like a form of praise.
(Goodness, I am such a Catholic. I really am. (I originally went to write "God, I am such a Catholic". Lol. Wow. You can take the girl out of the church...))
I wrote on FB and twitter, cause you should stay current with these things, even if you feel all weird and pale in your guts, I wrote: [phone-call interruption - talk about that later] "as I grow up, I realise that so much in writing is about learning to live with tension and silence. All day I try to create peace and then when it arrives in my living room, full of promise, I start to splutter and choke as it closes over my head, swimming madly for noise." And then I felt a little embarrased because the next post on my twitter timeline was from a musician, some shadow-less exclamation about what he was doing, and I thought - THAT'S what twitters for! Not the endless silly musings and meanderings.
I texted that same post to a comrade scribbler of mine, about the silence and the drowning, and he rang me (surprise! He's been MISSING lately) and he said, yeah! he said, it's exactly that tension and silence he said
remember that system I had of writing for 45 minute segments? well, I've not been able to stay silent for 20 minute segments not even 10 minutes I can't - he sighs I tell ya. It's ridiculous. And I replied, it's ironic because the more important the work is the harder it gets sometimes because it matters so much you just fucking choke
and then he started talking about his hair and it made me laugh how he dropped it in
like it was an existential tragedy akin to the solitude of man
And my hair! he said. I'm really worried about my hair! Its dreading into one big fucking dreadlock! And on and on we went talking about hair maintenance and matting and locking and
detangling with glycerine and water and I said why don't you come round and I'll sort it out
and I'll give you some money and
nah I can't take money and
so and so forth and I just kept laughing at us, building this ridiculous conversation
on the jagged bones of that empathy we share about loneliness
and silence, all full of laughter now,
so obvious what we're doing
swimming for noise!
but -ha! - sometimes noise is the only way to live with the silence and
ha! 'Vanity is my favourite sin'
(spot the reference!)

I think my self-pity is all spent for the evening. I think it's back to work now for the 52 seconds I have left awake.

[Gemma + silence exeunt]