She loved the fifties. Polka dot dresses, black eyeliner. She loved red high heels that punished her as she walked. She liked the click clack noise. It made her feel powerful.
He liked her to wear the heels to bed. She agreed. She felt desired.
Now, she wears them in the kitchen. They clack as she walks to the door, his martini in hand. She wears polka dot dresses whilst preparing his dinner. Flutters her black-lined lashes as she asks about his day and never gets asked about hers. She tries not to think about how much her feet will hurt at work tomorrow.
She wonders if it’s her fault, for loving the fifties. If the first night she cooked for him, the first night she waited up for him, the first night she cancelled on her friends to spend time with him was the beginning of the end. If it’s her fault that her friends keep trying to remind her how powerful she once was, how brightly she shone.
She used to feel invincible, in those bright red heels. But they don’t look so shiny anymore.
So, I won a competition. For writing something. This will make the third time in my life I’ve won something. The first was for drawing a lobster cowboy, and the second for designing a book cover. So I’ve gradually got closer to writing. And I finally got there. For writing a poem. Spent four years establishing myself as a fiction writer, but hey, I’m not complaining.
So the competition was run by Cape Farewell and the Eden Project, and the task was to design a provocation for a debate, on climate change. So this is the not-quite poem I wrote:
We’re not going to tell our children about climate change? That one
day their world will go up in flames, and we’re to blame? You think
it’ll scare them, when they’ve seen CGI movies about how the world
ends? Someone tell them a hero’s not a man with a gun but a person who
recycles. They are the continuation of our race, playing out our role
in space, because this world has many more moons to go before it’s
burnt by the sun. I am a writer, and my biggest regret is that these
words won’t be worth this paper.
So yeah, Eden Sessions was crazy awesome, and the debate was great, a real chance to consider just how much climate change depends upon and is connected to everything else, technology, business, the economy. So I’m definitely going to try to live a greener and better lifestyle. Most of those changes are small, but I’m convinced life is all about the little things. It’s true in love, friendship, work, so why wouldn’t it be true in environmentalism?
By far the most exciting part of this experience was to meet other creatives and people interested in the environment. The other side of the competition was for filmmakers to create a 2 minute film that was a call to action for the audience, and you should watch it. So, watch it HERE.
The weirdest thing about this? I only started writing in this sort of half-rhyme-not-quite-poem style after seeing Dizraeli and The Small Gods at XOYO last month (which was wicked, and you should totally check them out, as well as The Boxettes) so I thought I might as well try out spoken word stuff. And then Dizraeli was on the panel for this climate change debate.
Sometimes, life is weird. And makes a lot of sense. So anyway, the moral of this strange story? Don’t close yourself off because you think you’ve already defined yourself. I consider myself a prose writer, a novelist, but I’d discounted poetry completely because it has certain rules that I don’t like. But spoken word? Well, it’s got rhymes, it’s got beats and I love rap. And I speak super fast. So why not try something new and see where it takes you? What have you got to lose?
Incidentally, I’ll be trying out my new spoken word material in Coffee Affair, Colindale on 7th July. For more details, check the facebook group.