Here’s some thinking on the page. The Knight’s Tale is a four-part story. Maybe I could tell the entire story from four different points of view. Or three. First, second and third person. Or tell the same tale from different perspectives. And what part of the tale do I tell? I don’t have to tell the whole tale. But there must be three central characters, the two male rivals. And Emily. And at this stage, my working title will be Emily. The word ‘Emily’ will begin and end each section. Maybe.
Had the idea at one stage for the first part being a mirror poem. What a mad ambitious idea. A mirror poem with a difference: it would be from two different perspectives, Palamon’s and Arcite’s. So I would change some details subtly from one side to the other. The idea still appeals (and now the even more ambitious idea of making it a corona! Why make life so difficult?) Back to the mirror idea. The poem would focus in on the central point, Emily. But the nature of the gaze would differ, demonstrating one to the be the true love and the other not quite so true. Palamon saw her first and ultimately is shown to be The One, the deserving one. But writing a mirror poem would have to focus on a particular part of the story, not the whole story. Which is a pity cos it’s a damn good story. The jury’s out on this one. It would also be odd to start the book with a mirror poem but not disallowed. How, without having a marginal name could I show who’s speaking? Could change the typeface? There must be a way. A good form to show desire and obsession. Need not be narrative at all. But if not a story, would have to make up for it in intensity.
I think it should be a story. Another shorter narrative/extract could perhaps work as a mirror poem. The story’s too good to lose in a form the excels in the moment. This one’s more likely to be blank verse, terza rima, rap – anything that allows a narrative to flow. The Parson’s Tale is a rap, why couldn’t the Knight’s be? It would challenge conventions somewhat, the two paragons of virtue telling tales using the most streetwise form of poetry. If I decide to set it on/off the Old Kent Road then would be quite fitting. Inner city and all that.
Am also pondering the prison concept. Could I create a prison of the mind? It would take a lot to have the same dramatic impact as someone who’s physically restrained (which of course leads to mental constraint also). But what if the barrier were that she belonged to a different social class, race or, more dangerously, a rival gang? A bit Romeo and Juliet but nothing wrong with that. On the other hand, might use the rival gang concept when it comes to the final showdown…Could a high rise be a prison tower? Or the 9-to-5 that was really a ball and chain (Francesca Beard) i.e. they both work in Tesco on Old Kent Road. Will have to be careful not to be too place specific – could be done for libel. You know what these big corporations are like. Let’s think big. Let’s suppose the book will be so popular that Tesco might hear about it. Would get away with it if it were non-specific or a made-up name. The latter’s better cos location’s important. Good art is often specific. It’s the details that sell your story (Quentin Tarantino).
Thinking onto the page is useful because it tends to draw on earlier memories. (I’d buried the mirror poem idea a while back – glad to see it resurface). Seeing my thoughts visually (words on the page) seems to be very effective. Look at the wonderful effect of the morning pages that unblocked me for two years enabling me to write Transformatrix. This isn’t as rambling as morning pages – roving mic is the focus – but it feels like a conversation with myself. Which is what I need. At times I feel acutely isolated and want more comments but that’s mainly on the writing, the poem I’m proud of, rather than the blog about the process. I don’t want to spend the next two years in conversation with tens of writers rather than doing the writing. Were I young, free and single I’d have the time to do so. But the reality is quite different. Having said that, it doesn’t take long to respond to a short comment and it would be nice to see others in dialogue with each other. So from time to time I’ll give people the link then sit back and read some more pithy Middle English. The text is a constant. The text is my primary inspiration.