|Cut-ups: Eat Your Mind|
It's been almost two months since I've written a new blog post and I'm wondering why. Perhaps because it feels like this blog is now only a record of what I'm doing, which feels a tad self indulgent and slightly boring (for me and for you). I spent part of the Xmas season thinking on what I would like to change and a small voice said - more creativity, less documentation. Uh-huh. Let's go with that, small voice, I said. The voice got bigger.
I've been reading a lot. Inspired by writers like Angela Carter, Geraldine Brooks, Hannah Kent, Kathy Acker, Maxine Hong Kingston to try different styles.
I love this quote from Kathy Acker:
"Get Rid of Meaning:
Your mind is a nightmare that has been eating you:
Now Eat Your Mind"
I've been led to cutting up text, re-arranging it and using it as inspiration for more writing. I write quickly, with very little editing and I end up with things like this:
When I stroke Harry’s chin, strawberry jam pours into the kitchen.
‘Salt lives in the pile of clothes in the parlour,' he says. 'The walls are painted lilac and there is heavy wooden furniture piled up in the corner. I see a forest. The moon is large. The plane smells.’
‘About the picnic,’ says my sister.
And again I want to say ‘blame me for everything,’ but a fluorescent tube of grease and leather comes between us. Ants pour out. I run away. I come back.
‘What will we do?’ asks my sister.
Harry enters with an armful of tomatoes, sugar and salt.
‘Basil’ I say, ‘grows in grandmother’s pots. We need basil for the sauce.’
My brother pulls heads off ants. ‘I don’t want them looking after you,’ he says to my sister.
I clear the piles of many thoughts. This is what we must do if we are to start again. We are always starting again.
My sister’s hands have the basket in a flood. We move fast across the salt. My sister’s hair is like a river. Across her forehead the salt piles up in perfect pyramids.
‘More salt,’ says Harry. ‘The pilot will be here in an hour.’
We pile salt into the plane. My sister sleeps.
Harry has the gas burner on low and tips the tomatoes, salt, sugar and basil in.
The plane shudders into life. The pot boils over like a steaming engine.
‘I don’t want you buzzing like a beehive.’ he says to my sister, trying to use his stern voice but our sister has just woken and squeals at him as she throws salt into the air.
After sweeping the salt outside, Harry raids the kitchen before the pilot arrives.
I convince my sister she has our grandmother’s eyes. That brings a smile to her face. Then there is no time for anything else. The pilot is impatient and our limbs are moving slowly in the heat.
‘Run,’ he says. ‘Run. You’re young, you can move faster than that.’
Our cheeks puff with the effort. I hold my sister’s hand. We run. We hold each other so tight my hand hurts. It is slippery with sweat.
The pilot wears Biggles-style glasses and we move faster than we’ve ever moved. Pile into the small plane. My sister is in my arms. My arms aches but this makes me feel safe and excited. I have never been so close to her. She is like a baby in my arms with her grand mother eyes and hair smelling like apples. I push the salt pyramids aside and kiss her forehead. She falls asleep like that. I wrap her in a cotton sheet and place her in the bread basket. Her mouth is like buttermilk. She sleeps peacefully among the reeds where the wind whispers as the sky turns purple.
In these surreal segments I discover themes, motifs, emotions, characters and story. This is the raw material I will use for a longer work (a book). I enjoy to eat my mind.