All the movie talk a week or so back was about Don’t Look Up. It was an imperfectly perfect big Hollywood take on big Hollywood disaster films, the media, social media, tech bros, and US politics. It was a hot mess. It was funny because it was true, and then not funny because of this. It was a fluffy and ultimately easily digestible ‘make you think’ movie that will define January 2022 until it doesn’t. It had the emotional core, and family drama featuring a man in his 40s central to disaster films (think 2012, Greenland, Armageddon, The Day After Tomorrow, San Andreas etc, etc). It showed us Cassandra of Greek myth is alive and well (we already know this, but obviously no one believes us). The film was popular: we weren’t looking up so much as looking at our screens and tapping into social media to partake of the discourse.
What do I want to say?
Don’t Look Up shows us writers should look everywhere (up, down, all around) in life and art, when in the throes of creating. Writers should attempt to examine things like astronomers do: from a long distance, from a long time ago, for a long time, using all the tools at our disposal. Critically, however, writers should examine things close up and right now: we need the macro and the micro. In contrast to the TV hosts, we also need to perceive ourselves and others, rather than polish what we think people ought to detect. The result doesn’t have to be angsty or profound. Sometimes the comet is just a ball of ice, and doesn’t contain the building blocks of re/creation. Writing, like a comet, is also allowed to have a long tail, a trail of its earlier selves sloughed off through drafts and edits. Yet, sometimes a piece of writing can be as it is. I dropped into a twitter discussion with The Red Lemon Review (and others). It was cheering to listen people talk about and read their poetry, some personal, profound, others making the mundane moving – as it is. It got me writing too, about visiting the supermarket.
A poem doesn’t have to change the world. It can be an ice cube in a drink, or an ice comet hurtling towards the world. Maybe even both, but whatever it is, the poem must come into being first. With this in mind, a few weeks ago I found a call out from The Literary Yard for submissions. They take writing on writing. I didn’t have anything particularly that fit, but I took an idea (bugbear really) about book titles which has haunted me, wrote something, arranged it a bit, and sent it off. Didn’t give it a second thought.
It was published tonight. I just had to remember my bugbear, turn it into a poem-thing, and let it be. Here is the link to Without the daughter’s name, by me.
Writing Record update 2022. I’ve added Published to the list below to spice things up. Experience has taught me accepted doesn’t always equal published.
- Rejections: 23
- Pending: 99
- Acceptances: 5
- Published: 1