Saturday, June 25, 2011

I love the sound of breaking glass

I really don't, actually. Especially when I'm under it. When I was an art student, making a super 8 film - because you HAD TO in those days, to be an Artist - I shot a sequence through water - a huge fishtank suspended at the corners between two tables. I lay under it and my friend washed her face while I filmed it.
Moments after I stopped and slid out from under the set-up, there was a crack that sounded like the earth opening up. A four-foot by three foot tank holds a lot of water. Gravity is unforgiving.

I used to think I was particularly lucky but sometimes I wonder if I'm actually spectacularly stupid. Today I had the set up I've been toiling over for weeks all fixed up - light source, shadow frame, camera, props, dolls. (This is for the steamlust animation). I just broke it. Light stand, frame glass, snap crash caboom crack fuck.

In order not to cry, here's a haiku:

words cling to the page
as rain clings to the grass stem
I slip on the path

Oh. I just realised there are very small shards of broken glass from the frame all over the desk. That is what the uncomfortable pricking on my forearms was. Which is now a bit bleeding. God, you really do suffer for art, don't you? 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Demons #1

Sometimes when I submit work I make stupid mistakes. Years ago I spent a weekend working feverishly on a submission for a screenplay competition. It was to be a dark comedy about working in the civil service on a small island. I had, not long before that, worked in the civil service, on a small island. What I wrote was pretty good. Relevant, funny, appropriate. It should have had a shot.

But I added my name to the top of the document as a header. Only afterwards (I think) did I read the guidelines fully and see that entries were to be judged anonymously. All that work for nothing. My screenplay would have been binned immediately.

I still do things like this, and the truth is that part of it is unconsciously intentional. I deliberately screw my chances, pour effort into the work and then at the last minute sabotage it, pretend I don't care, do something fucking stupid. Veer sideways when it was all going well.

And when something manages to get published, I can't escape the fear. Writing is bliss. Publishing is terrifying. But without the publishing - it's not really writing, it's diary-keeping, isn't it?

Audience is part of the work. Connecting, responding, communicating. When we're learning to write, I think part of what we're learning is also how to share, how to perform, even, how to relate to an audience. That, for me, is probably the hardest part.

Writing seems like a secret escape hatch from what you fear. Look, you can hide behind the page, behind the story, behind the words. You are not you, you're an author. But the world has a way of throwing your fears back at you. The only way out is through, isn't it? You thought you'd found somewhere you could whisper your secrets, but it turns out you were writing them in scarlet across your chest. And now you have to answer to them.

So, in the interests of facing demons: Fear of Success, I see you, you hopeless knee-jerk reaction, and I've got your number. I'm zapping you! Pxzap!

(For my next submission, I shall be reading the rules carefully and resisting the urge to add something juvenile in the last line of the covering letter. As I did, only yesterday ... [forehead slap])

{In the interests of full disclosure, the juvenile thing that I wrote - it was a cock joke. Yes. Somebody slap me, please.}

Monday, June 13, 2011

Certainly smells like a Monday

I woke up to a (form) rejection.

Got an email to say the house we were hoping to buy has been sold - to someone else.

And this afternoon, after wrestling the Boo round the shop - no, put it down, no, put it down, not that, no, not for you - buying some fluorescent orange cheese because he'd bitten it THROUGH THE WRAPPER - got back to the car, put the Boo in the front so I could put the bags in the back (I have to go through the front seat cause the lock clicky thing is bust), realised the car was rolling backwards. Quite fast. Boo, at eighteen months, while unable to say his own name, is apparently capable of letting off a handbrake. Thankfully my usual perplexity was overtaken by panic and I managed to push past the confused baby and hoik on the handbrake, leaving the car diagonally across the carpark and my hands shaking.

Still. Also this happened:

Boo fell in love in the library. He met a girl from Canada, gave her a very gentle hug and followed her round, pointing at the heart on her jumper.

I found a new way of putting on eye make up.

The car only rolled a few feet and not over mine.

Roll on Tuesday. Actually, stay where you are, I'll come to you.