Unf..ked by Progress
I have chosen creative nonfiction writing as a way to convey what I want to say for this blog series. What I have witnessed and what I continue to discover and aspire to will be added when I can. By using memoir and a fragmented kind of Journalism, I will weave my own story into what I observe, becoming the absorber, the revelator, even while I may never actually co-exist in the lives of those I document, i may at times relate to them personally. It is a storm of form.
I am a devotee to the unexpurgated diaries of Anais Nin; the resonance is biblical. I also read Jean Rhys, my favourite aspects of her stories are the homeless self, the outsider climate of her art. Her need to create, cost her a home and security. I can identify with the risk of rejection. I admire writers who bear witness to life, with the intent to ease suffering.
A more recent writer that has become a favourite is the irreverently precise and wonderfully weird Ottessa Moshfegh. Her work doesn’t really go anywhere, but you travel somewhere with every sentence.
Someone once said to me that loving everyone is the same as loving no one. I agree with them now. It is with this thought in mind that I am committed to writing about the grime of life as well as the glamour. It has t be acceptable to have our own preferences. After much research and action, I have come to believe that contemporary collectivism has failed. Groups and communities are as poisoned by power hungry interlopers as any political party.
Activists and group leaders appear to be willing to die on behalf of someone else’s life or art, or potential for both, other than their own, only for the members to forget them if they don’t deliver their best outcome as a certainty. Faith alone being meaningless as a currency. Gathering others to make change is verging on love avoidance, a sickness. So, to avoid harming myself voluntarily in that way as I have before. I will write, alone, and share that. My new mantra is rise together, yes, but as individuals. Reach but don’t teach. Love yourself and your lover the hardest and give testimony to that.
Many of my adventure stories, the books, poems and novellas I am writing are close to my own story but othered. I would hope that my reader travel into a private world of their own between the words on the page. If I open the gift of the imagined life and develop a sympathetic environment for the enquiring mind, I will be happy. It provides me with a way to take part and not be overburdened by the noise that fear of personality driven needs creates internally and externally. Especially at a time now where humour is almost illegal and investigation is paralleled to bias. I write in the genres of auto fiction, mythical and gritty realism. I admit my place as narrator but transform my knowledge into something fictional. Side stepping any diminishing forces such as the sterility of judgement, in a society that needs nurturing out of its trauma but who’s metaphorical parent has died. In other words, governance has failed us, so have the systems we relied on for assurance. We are all responsible now and everything new hurts.
I am not a nostalgic person by nature. I walk fully present in this world. If I write about what it was like to be a girl in a band in the 90s, a hedonist in the neo 00s, a city slacker and spiritual seeker in the 2010s, and I will, it is as a measure to the person I see in the mirror now.
There is an under language at play in my commentary. Truth informs everything I create. I intend it to be a critically honest environment, a refuge of ideas that convey the best and worst events without ever naming the perpetrator. Everyone is forgiven, only the circumstances matter. The person who may have created a difficulty for my characters is as unimportant to me in my writing, as it is in my life. I beautify the degradation of rejection, because the mystery is in the lessons. I don’t believe you can change people and I won’t try to. But I do have a fascination for how trauma can affect the mind and how that can change people.
Literature can contextualise the core of pain and provide identification for it. It can mend the human wound, reconnect the overshadowed intimacies. If a situation is revealed in my stories, I trust that a reader might feel less alone in their own. That is my way of giving without instructing. I may equally sensationalise and repulse, but at least then the reader has an opportunity to re-wild their perceptions. Sensuality is closely linked to the spirit and repression is an anathema to that vitality. I hope they might throw the book across the room and scream out, that was me, that was how I felt too and just feel a bit better. I’m drawn to offering the embodiment of feelings for relief and release, the escapism in the mess and blood and failure and lowliness in the fight to give life meaning.
I believe that liberation is key for its transferable knowledge and development of consciousness. I had a speech impediment for many years, and any number of dyslexic and post traumatic experiences. I may never have the social and linguistic confidence, or emotional regularity that makes a person feel certainty around me in life, but I am fully reliable on the page. We are becoming a nation of independents in the UK. Underground off grid living exists and is expanding despite sanctions on surface freedoms. We choose our own broadcast channels if any at all. We look to culture and extraordinary or everyday thinkers for inspiration as much as, or maybe more so than those in positions of power.
Since the big shift in 2019 I have moved around a lot. Possibly as a shock response. I have congregated and gathered with change makers. I have met those who grow their own food and eat it. Many who distil their own beer and wine, who pick the berries in their gardens and make remedies, rather than only photograph them because they are pretty. Some hold music gatherings in woodlands or buy up acres of land to preserve the clean water in its lakes. Financial struggles or a failure to hold on to their former life hold no shame for the people I know. This current national and global financial and maniacal situation is recognised as a tragic consequence of poor governance by the super-rich that needs a creative solution. Many are developing an art of living well that doesn’t rely on consumerism.
As a nation we appear to have decided that we will be asked for what we want and not told what is good for us. Vandalism is sometimes seen as heroism, human instinct for danger is unchanged, we sense corruption. It is a good time to be authentic and we know it.
The new rebellion is formed of good heartedness. We seek simple and honest living. We want to walk this country freely. Trust must be earned; resources must be shared.
Aren’t we all so tired of the platitudes that stand in the way of a new paradigm? The past is never coming back, maybe now is the time when a re-education of natural pleasures is paramount.
Everything must be allowed to be accounted for in prose. For this I choose the unspoilt territory of psychological truth, a hybrid of reality and imagination, a puzzle language. Because if we pretend life isn’t vile sometimes it stays that way. This way allows me to remain uncensored, which is our only hope for real change. But I need your help, I have a favourite publisher and when the time comes to submit my work, I need you to write to them on my behalf and say that you will buy my book if they publish it. Not as a collective, but as a unique individuals who wants to safely remain that way.
Book reference, Ottessa Moshfegh ~ Homesick for another World, Vintage, 2018.
Art work by Angel Archer