I’ve started to dig out some of my older work – most of the time I don’t really know what to do with it, so it stays buried on my hard drive. Photography and I haven’t really been talking this year – we’ve been eyeing each other from opposite sides of the room, looking for an excuse to start a brawl.
I took these images in 2019, pre-pandemic. It felt disingenuous to glorify normalcy of any kind in 2020 so I didn’t look at them again, but now I feel a small ache creeping in my chest. Looks like we don’t have to come to blows after all.
This morning I woke up to an email saying that a video poem that I put together last year for a unit on Sex, The Body and American Poetry (I did the coolest M.A) has been selected for the 9th International Video Poetry Festival in Athens. I’m still not sure how I feel about it (aside from shocked and grateful and humbled, which is a given). This thing (like so much of my work) would still be on a hard drive if it hadn’t been for a friend convincing me to throw it out there and see what comes back. So I did, literally an hour before deadline.
It’s not an easy watch. I was bottoming out mentally at the time, just before Zoloft kicked me into high gear and I ended up dodging involuntary hospitalisation a few weeks later. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to film trains or just walk in front of them. I was obsessing over Maggie Nelson. I’ve never wanted to be a poet per-se, but I am a whore for fragmented memoir – so much so, that I ended up by writing my thesis on it. At that time, fragments were all I had. The idea that any of this can resonate with a selection committee is humbling.
Yesterday I wrote a whole holier-than-thou post about how I escaped 2020 relatively unscathed, mental-health-wise. It’s bullshit of course. Spotify/Last.Fm reminded me of this when I began to put together my annual playlist. (If you ever want to get to the core of what you were feeling during a particular time in your life, keep a time-stamped running list of the music you listen to. Fuck.)
Euthymia is seductive.
I’ll write more when it’s sunk in.
Update: Poetic City Canberra have very kindly shown an excerpt of this piece as part of their Poetry Cinema program. We had to cut it down for time, but if you’ve found your way here, and are interested in viewing the full piece, and learning about its conception, I’ve created a page for it here.