Tuesday, 26 June 2007

the magic of fingers


i wrote this yesterday morning. it is the first thing ive written in ages, and im not sure it is very good. but hey, im the worst self editor in the world, always posting things that aren't ready.
i think it can be read quite nicely in conjunction with 'i can make you happy' and 'learning curves of acceptance' - maybe like a trilogy? i don't know.
it is a love story of sorts.

The magic of fingers

It seems now to me that all time that came before has reached a synthesis that makes sense. From the moment I came down from the mountains, step by step over grassy ridges and rocky clefts that threatened danger, it was the beginning of the path to this point. I wasn’t to know what lay a stone’s throw away.

My body is stained with fingerprints. Like a child’s painting made with giddy joy, you find the traces of time on my hips and on my legs and on my back. A history book open and read lies on my belly. Fingertips that grabbed and stole shreds of flesh to keep and hide from my possession, losing senses and losing an I, so that, tracing the history of my body, I can’t find pieces of me, can’t find semblances of where I once was. The hurt can be raw sometimes. I was left to sew the remnants back together. Piece by piece I knitted the skin to the muscle to the organ and picked up where I left off. Holes lay bare, hidden under scraps of clothing, gaping through my badly sewn seams, as I moved from the mountain towards what lay beyond it. Pale, I was. Sucked dry. The fingers spun their spell and entranced me in to their motion, so that pulled from side to side; the holes were torn open again.
And I would scream, how many more times can I do this again, how many more times can this happen again, I’m so tired now, can we please be quiet now please.
Until I lay down and accepted it. I let the fingers do their work, until all that was left was a stretch of skin clinging to my fibre, and somewhere amongst it all was a shadow of me, whispering day by day to be heard.

I wandered from city to city, searching for bricks and mortar to stick me back together with glue. Sometimes fingers caress where the stains are and I hope the new prints will wipe out the mess of the old ones before. I’ll take anything, I think. I’ll take anything to blur the marks on my body.

There was a time before I gave the paintbrush to others, when I would mark the boundaries of my body. With skill I traced patterns over canvasses that would not be seen, too shy to reveal, and I wrote my own history there. But I was told over and over to stop, I was told over and over that I was wrong, that what I did was wrong, so I gave up my art and I gave up my autonomy and let others take hold of the ink and let others draw me the way they wanted. I wondered why this was better. I wondered why this was acceptable. Before, painting away, I had the control. I knew where the lines could be drawn and I knew how big how wide how long and far I could go. Yet, worn down, I accepted the wrongness of my actions, and gave up the precious tools to let outsiders take control of my body, and make it with their powders and their prints, greedy and wanting and leaving their mark. Lying alone later, tracing the new pictures on my body, I wondered why this hurt was encouraged. If my art was the thesis, then this was their antithesis. Somewhere, someone was winning. Somewhere, someone was pleased. As the new prints wiped out the meticulous carvings I had devoted so many years to cultivating, I stared hard trying to remember which part of me was mine. Where my independence had gone to. My self drifting from town to town searching for where I had been and where I was hiding. The truth was missing. I couldn’t pin point it anymore.

So onward I wander sleepwalking through towns with my head kept down and my smile ducked under my chin in hope that no one sees for if no one sees then no one can take hold of what is left of me. I nod politely and do my duty and I sell ugly clothes to rich ladies and I speak quietly to people who ignore the advice I give them, and sometimes, sometimes when I’m not looking a part of me that I thought I had left in the past will drink a glass of wine and laugh raucously and flutter her eyelashes and although I tell her to be quiet, to quieten down now, she ignores me and finds herself waking somewhere strange with parts of my body wiped out. Reprimanded and humbled she sneaks back deep inside and I duck my chin and walk head down and tell her to not come back. She folds her bright silks and velvets away and we go back to where we started.

Then I found fingers on the back of my neck and I felt them draw what was once there before. The seams close and are rendered invisible and when I press my fingertips there I can’t feel the cracks, I can’t feel the stretched thread. Light falls from the ends of fingers to close the gaps, and I watch astounded as I notice that no longer is my skin cracking to release my self to fall onto the dirty pavements of these dirty cities. Over my shoulders and over my back and over my breasts and belly, fingers highlight all the paintings that have shaped my body, and I am synthesised, my thesis and my antithesis meeting on my thighs to show off all the facets of my history, written there for all to see, no longer smudged and shamed and dirty. Slowly knitting and slowly mending, and the weight of my head is supported as my hands can lift and hold themselves proudly interlocking with fingers.
My body is a record of all my time and all that has come before this moment. It seems to me now that all the time that has been before has been waiting for a moment that has been caught oh so nicely between fingers.

Sunday, 24 June 2007

news and ting


just to let you know there is now a new reason for me being out of writing action, i am officially really rather sick. Been off work for a week, had blood tests and ultra sounds and generally feeling srory for self. Hopefully i'll be better and back on scribbling form soon tho.

meanwhile my reading at the gladstonbury festival (before the illness struck me down!) was a great success! im too nervous and need to be more confident, but people really seemed to like my work, although had to cut a couple of paragraphs to make things better. (ed suggested in 'learning curves of acceptance' that the para about cheekbones being razors is cliche. but just so you know, if you have a hospital appointment in bath, that paragraph is on display as part of sarah trigg's art exhibition). I also read ' i can make you happy', which although now seems a bit dated, always works well "live".

im interested in people's reactions to 'learning curves of acceptance'. a few people have been asking me about it and whether it was about losing virginity. what do you think? i personally (and i am breaking the vow of silence here!) didn't intend that when i wrote it, so i am kind of happy that people look at it from a different perspective to me.

It is official - 'poem as autobiography' is not a good piece, and i have come to understand why. honesty is key, this poem is full of vagaries and lies and that is why it fails.

anyway, hopefully having this time off work means i can get to work on what i care about. ie writing, not telling off students.

take care xx

Friday, 15 June 2007

exciting news

The Guardian are publishing my experience to share! feel like a real writer, which is great.
check out march for the idea behind the thing.
then i'll let you know when it'll be available IN PRINT!

About Ladyfest

This is some of the stuff from the website, but I'm putting it here too. I'll put the website here when it is up and running! Monday we hope...

LADYFEST BRISTOL 2007!!!!!!!!!!!!!


The first Ladyfest was held in Olympia, Washington State in 2000, and since then has grown internationally, happening in Ottawa, Mexico, Romania and Singapore, as well as dozens in Britain, including London, Leeds, Newcastle, Brighton and all over.

Born from the Riot Grrl punk movement of the nineties, Ladyfest aimed to showcase and celebrate women’s music and art on their own merit and in their own right. By this we mean that for the first time, women’s creativity had its own space, as opposed to a sideline or novelty in the traditionally more male dominated punk and indie scene.

This is the second Ladyfest to be held in Bristol. The first was a two week event in the summer of 2003, when Bristol and Bath hosted a number of musical and artistic events between the two cities.

Ladyfest has changed and evolved into a diverse festival that represents a wide selection of women’s work and needs. It has maintained its spirit as a cultural moment to celebrate women, whilst growing in its outlook and in its aims. Each festival is run independently under the Ladyfest banner, and this allows each one to develop their own idea of what they want the festival to mean to their audience, their town and themselves.

Ladyfest Bristol 2007

Ladyfest Bristol aims to be a diverse event, in keeping with the growing variety of recent festivals. Musically, we are presenting indie, electro, hip hop and folk nights. This means that whatever your taste, there will be a night to go dancing that will suit you!

Like Ladyfests before us we will be exhibiting a range of local and national artists, and running workshops on drawing, writing, knitting, self defence, and music.

Film and theatre will play a strong role in the event, with acting workshops, and the Cube cabaret performing their work, whilst local women filmmakers will have the opportunity to show off their work.

It is important to us that Ladyfest explores its own political and ethical motivations whilst making sure that we don’t exclude anyone or make people feel uneasy about attending. We want to use the festival to raise discussion and debate about gender roles and women in society, through discussion, art and music!

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

oh dear, but ladyfest can save us

i have been slack haven't i?
i don't know what has been going on, but finding time to write seems tricksy right now.

the main thing is, a lot of my writing skill has been used up in ladyfest organisation. when i get permission from my colleagues, i'll post up some of the work we are doing to make the event good and great. we have gigs, film nights, club nights, art exhibtions, workshops, talks, parties and general excellent times raising awareness and debate on women's issues, gender issues, and what women are doing creatively.

ive been having vagues ideas for work, but nothing concrete. trying to imporove my poetry, so if anyone has any hints on how to do that, check out 'poem as autobiography' and give me advice! i shall hopefully be reading at rob's poetry festival in some london locale at the weekend, so hopefully i'll have learnt by then.

been to so many musical treat nights that i will review SOON but here's a taster:

ashton court fundraiser
big ting (of course)
the third party feat kevin molloy and nick nell (sp?)
scout niblett
normalise and appleblim at the cavern club
others too methinks, i'll get on it.

to support ladyfest go to www.myspace.com/ladyfestbristol
our real life website should be up on your monitors soon!

bye x