Momento

Watched Momento. What a mad film! I love suspense but the suspense here was cubed. It’s from the perspective of a man with an unsual type of amnesia in that he can’t remember anything two minutes before. He can remember everything perfectly before his wife is killed. Or so he says. Watching the film feels like having his condition. It’s uncanny. It’s deeply disturbing. The plot is revealed backwards, starting with a murder. It’s classified as film noir as it’s beautifully filmed and cuts black and white footage into the colour. Read the link to get the detail. What I got from it is this: a wonderful sense of freedom as an artist. The possibilities of plot are endless. Basically, my project is about rewriting stories. Yes, they’re poems, but I can’t get away from narrative. Momento reminded me to play. To jump around, omit, use unreliable narrators etc etc. Remember, I’m the one who wrote a mirror poem. I love disrupting narrative. But I’d got so caught up with reproducing the original I forgot I could play. Not that I’ve done it yet. But a timely reminder.

Also loved how he tattoed himself in order to remember essential things, to add purpose to his life. And took photos then wrote specific notes on the photos. The film is primarily about a man trying to create his life plot but there’s a subliminal plot about creation itself.  The writing on the body, on the photos. The photos. It’s as if he himself is making a film about himself. Mad stuff.

Went to the theatre last Saturday. Aiden Dooley’s show Tom Crean. I saw it in an earlier incarnation. Fabulous. I felt the ice freeze on the hairs on the back of my neck. I know Aiden and have seen the show develop into something awesome. He became Tom Crean. He took us to the Antarctic. We could feel it. Emotionally and physically. And back to narrative, Aiden used original diary footage so effectively to authenticate the experience , hear a range of voices,  transport us back to the early 20th century.

And what am I working on at the moment? Still on the Manciple’s. It’s a first person narrative in one-syllable words. I wrote it as prose, as condensed as I could without editing too much at that early stage, then chopped it up into 9-syllable lines. I deliberately went for an odd number because poet Matthew Francis recommends that for syllabics you need to avoid even syllables as you tend to slip into iambics. He’s right. As soon as I allowed myself the odd 10-syllable line it was iambic pentameter. I chopped it up knowing that it was prose chopped up. During that process I got rid of 1/10 the poem, just to make lines fit. The editing process had begun. Since then I’ve whittled it and whittled it, like a sculptor, to add tension to the narrative. It still needs some work before it’s fit for human consumption. But it makes sense. The voice has been a supreme challenge because the speaker had to be foreign. I’m not specific about his origin but I have to name him. It’s essential to the narrative, and that name will pin him down to a specific region. You’ll get to read a version of it next week. In the meantime, I have two Lovefilm rentals to watch and Blade Runner (The Final Cut) in transit from Play.com. Watch this space…

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