I’ve borrowed the talented John McCullough http://www.johnmccullough.co.uk/ from Queer Writing South to help me run a workshop at Allsorts Youth Project as part of my residency – watch this space for some younger voices. Meanwhile I am running some workshops at Fabrica itself.
John and I looked up the meanings of ‘declare’ – the first is to announce something solemnly, the second to reveal one’s intentions or identity. No wonder some of you are posting a vague sense of guilt or anxiety in response to my third question: Do you have anything to declare? (See Questions on this blog.) The word solemn gets a bad press. So I’m grateful to be reminded on Clare Pollard’s blog http://clarepollard.com/) about Ahkmatova’s Requiem and that poetry “is needed to bear witness. To pay attention to the individual, to the specifics of human life, in a way news-reports rarely can.” And who better to bear witness than those who cross borders?
One aspect linking all the work at Fabrica this Spring is the voice, in the Otolith Group’s film of Etel Adnan reading, in Invisible Flock’s Sea of Voices. Timely when visual image is privileged everywhere (albeit in a commercially exploitative way).
As animateur I am focussing on sounds and language, moving away from literal meaning to reach something on the tip of our tongues, something we think we hear but can’t quite explain. Water carries our voices, memories. Yesterday the sun came out so I walked along the seafront. Just listening & listening: bands playing, snippets of conversation, gulls squawking, kids shouting, crying. All of it in with the sound of the water.
What’s it like being animateur aboard Fabrica? This whole week it’s felt like I’ve been invited to dine at the Captain’s Table. Drinking in all those sounds. And I also got to go to the Poetry Library. I’m like a kid in a sweetshop whenever I go. Fellow writer and friend Pascal O’Loughlin who works there had prepared me various reading suggestions. Christopher Reid’s lost voices of flooded villages, Marjorie Argosin’s island woman, Lindsey Adams’ still photos of waves – the paradox – with Michelene Wandor’s words…I feasted & feasted. Then sat and looked out through the fluffy new green of the trees along the walkway at the Thames, thinking about its journey to the sea. Will I write something directly about the sea or will all these ideas just gradually seep into my work, pop up again years later? I don’t know. I don’t know. There is so much material to choose from and every moment, every sensation, thought or emotion is actually a subject worth writing about.
Do you believe in magic? I do. That’s why I run workshops and attend them myself. Nothing, nothing, nothing then something. You surrender not so much to the workshop leader’s will as to your own creativity, process. There’s that word again, process. The first workshop I’m running at Fabrica is Write Across the Border this Wednesday May 16th at 7.15 – all are welcome – just let Fabrica know. (Click on the Events page of this blog for details.). How do we ever manage to create anything if not by magic? So sharpen your pencils, bring along your notebook or Ipad or whatever you write on. Your animateur/bartender-in-residence will serve you a heady mix of (unliteral) cocktails and there will also be refreshments (literally).