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15.07.2021




Or Perhaps,


It’s been a while. Hello. 

This is just a quick scribble to mark the launch of the second year of #WhoseFuture, a billboard campaign by Rising Arts Agency, the creative community to which I belong and of which I am extremely proud. 

For four weeks, the art work of about 35 young artists (<30) is pasted up across the city of Bristol, accompanied by statements and demands. It’s all about Care and Wellbeing, and what that means under the oppressive systems that govern our society. 

I’m very honoured to have some writing up and featured as part of the campaign. Since I’ve largely posted about it in photos (which are obvs unreadable by screenreaders) I have pasted the text below.



If you’re in Bristol and you see some of the artwork, share it ! enjoy it ! make some of your own ! 

xx



***



[text begins]


(keep going keep going keep going)

Or perhaps the pounding rhythm is an error of composition, is not even the right genre, in fact, and to disregard the bone-deep, lactic burning in the calves—lamenting, still, how unjust it is that the persistent maintenance of a heartbeat circling 90bpm does not also bring with it the lean muscularity of a melancholic literary aesthete, whose interwar diet of coffee, cigarettes, red wine and the sun of the italian riviera mysteriously carves a form bespokely poised to pen the perfect poem/essay/form-demolishing novella—is to ignore some kind of very important warning sign from a body that is fatiguing, fatiguing, fatiguing at the perpetual motion, the careening vacillation between Staying Alive Long Enough To Pay, Once More, The Rent and Is Everyone Alright, Is Everyone Else Alright, It Feels Like Everyone Else Is Not Alright; dual states of being that are less yin-yang-balance than they are two stray dogs caught in an endless, rotating snarl, each biting chunks from the belly of the other; and the threat of abyssal stillness snags horrid, gnarled fingernails into the soft, soft skin on the backs of the ankles, sniping whispers about the sediment at the bottom of the river, the fated upsurge if the flow were to ever come to a sudden, thunderous               

  halt.





The future spills out, oil-slick and viscous

Birds skirr

None of the cats in the street have jobs




The drop, when it finally comes, will be–



[end of text]


NB.

(what I’m reading:

gideon the ninth — tamsyn muir
pride and prejudice — jane austen
earthsea cycle — ursula le guin

and I’m on GoodReads, if it’s of interest)



03.03.2021




Perpetual Motion

I think:

I am my to-do lists. I am the notepad and pen that sit by my right hand while I am trying to write. (TITLE: DISTRACTIONS.) I try to empty my mind as I go and focus on the task. I am the endless sifting through blogs, essays, short stories; published works by others I fight the urge to mine for a voice.

Halfway through a yoga session with Adriene I wonder whether practising mindfulness would make me a better writer. There is something in the back of my brain that tells me I don’t yet know enough about the things I am doing/making/thinking-about to be doing making thinking about them. I knit a sweater vest and the neck comes out extremely wonky but ultimately fine. I write three shorts with fifteen tabs from No Film School blinking in my browser.

I am perpetual motion. Learn french start a library crochet a blanket make clothes a dress an apron a shirt a tracksuit write films redraft them practise your german plot a novel make a zine make another zine write a blog yes this one but also another one more another one read those books you bought and the ones you already have do your work the work for your job the job that pays you and practise the guitar.

I’ve killed two plants so far in the pandemic. I spend 98% of my time less than two metres from my plants.


Everything is so loud.


For my birthday, a friend and I walk 15km around Bristol. She is Greg Davies. The Taskmaster. I write a rap about my workplace, carry an egg yolk in my pocket for six hours, nearly choke to death on marshmallows trying to recite the Lord’s Prayer on the inter-city cycle path. I am outdoors, in my body, walking.

For hers, ten days later, the loop is 23km. We find a pseudo-totem pole in the woods with her birth year carved into it, take it in turns to do covert wild wees, use a man dressed in Full Camo like a Magic Eye puzzle, tracking his descent down a forest path.

If I don’t write things down, I immediately forget them. Before me, the rest of my life stretches and foreshortens simultaneously.

I lose three hours explaining cissexism to a man on Twitter who does not care. At my desk, my heartbeat leaps to 95bpm.


and


17:53:34 Eli: think i need to go cold turkey on social media for a while
17:53:48 Eli: would one of you guys be up for changing my passwords for me so i cant get in? lol
17:54:00 Maisie: Yep
17:54:03 Maisie: Gimme gimme


and


20:12:20 Maisie: Done
20:12:23 Maisie: Log out xx


and 


20:15:31 Eli: cant wait to become horribly self aware


84.6 miles away, my dad gets his letter inviting him for the vaccine. He’s hoping we’ll make it to a festival this year.

a person sits by a lake, surrounded by winter trees


NB.

(what I’m reading:

gideon the ninth — tamsyn muir
pride and prejudice — jane austen
underland — robert macfarlane

earthsea cycle — ursula le guin

and I’m on GoodReads, if it’s of interest)



16.01.2021




Tasting Words, Anew

I recently finished reading Eley Williams’ novel ‘The Liar’s Dictionary’. A borrowed copy, thrust into my hands by a friend on their return to the living room.

“Read this. Underline the bits you like, I’ve done it too.”

And my crumbly HB chases her un-erasable red colouring pencil across quick turns of phrase, meandering etymological contemplations; draws chunky emphases under the jokes I like, pleasing clumps of assonant sounds.

Like

choreographed floppage
 p.189

and

brain-crimping silence
 — p. 147



Every now and then, there is a cluster; four lines in a row enclosed by giant red parentheses. Or by a procession of underlines. This bit, it demands, what do you think of this bit? BECAUSE I THOUGHT IT WAS BRILLIANT.

AAAH! I often agree in the margin.

Or !!

Or ♥

(The most ardently attended-to paragraphs are the ones about gay longing, romantic agony, about the feeling of pulling your guts out through your mouth to try and tell someone how you feel.

Like

She tapped a pen to a Styrofoam cup in her hand and I lost four years off my life.
— p. 118  
           

The definition of love (v.) drives us both, briefly, mad. But we’re in a pandemic, and haven’t touched another person in ten months, so. Shrug!)

I read

He never realised that he needed to believe a moth could shout in rage,
p. 177

and I love this book.

It cleanses the taste of stale nothing from my tongue. Wipes away a year of frustrated chalkdust, flittering iPhone notes that read play idea, something about power / adhd symptoms? / Espresso Black Americano Tea soya milk Cheesy pasty or something for Tom / to ask everyoneDEMAND: why is this important? / ça serait mieux, billet, il = y.

It fords the twisting maelstrom between ALL THE NONFICTION YOU’RE TRYING TO READ and ALL OF THE STORIES YOU’RE TRYING TO WRITE.

Look, the book says. Look how much joy there is to be found in holding words you like in the palm of your hand. Feeling their weight, turning them over. Look at how much fun you can have! There are lives in these pages that are built on games.

Herein is woven a Full On Love Story that feels so meaningful in its groundedness that two of you, sat on separate beds in separate houses (though really, only a fifteen minute walk apart) nearly snapped a lead in your determination to commit it to memory. Look at how the corner of your mouth lifts as you read. This book has scrawled words on the inside of your brain.


And in my room, I roll words around in my mouth. Whisper passages to myself in the sun-white glow of a SAD lamp.

I risk an anxious toppling into the Omnipresent Nihilism hunched in my subconscious and let my mind wander. Just for a moment. Shove up the paintmarked sash window and breathe in the smell of wet leaves and city-stink.

An empty crosscountry train thunders past.

Hmm, I think, staring into the middle distance. Trees are weird, aren’t they.

Arboreal. Naturally un-topiaric.

Ecosia, give me “words about trees”.

banyan maple ash sapling species hazel branch pine tree trees holly taiga inga casuarina puka dipterocarp lumber souari devilwood poon cockspur palm tree ribbonwood seedling


and yet yet yet yet yet yet
—  p. 185 


(At some point in the reading she switches from red to orange. And I, having lost my mechanical pencil, begin using a terrible waxy purple.)


A photo of a page spread of The Liar's Dictionary. Many words and phrases are underlined, by two different readers.



NB.

(what I’m reading, on walks round the park as if I think I’m a Quirky Lead in an indie movie:

a little life — hanya yanagihara
pride and prejudice — jane austen
underland — robert macfarlane

earthsea cycle — ursula le guin

and I’m on GoodReads, if it’s of interest)



07.01.2021




between sleeps,
glimpses

the magic hush of a city after snow
and the warm orange
coiled steam
of living room, angled lamp
finger poised in the crease of a spine

the flushed pink cheeks of “it’s good, isn’t it? you like it?”

lips, soft
pressed quickly against a forehead in passing,
fingertips brushing back strands

rings, cold from the wind
balanced on a seam and glinting in the sunlight

and a handful of smells, warm from the oven

drifting
alt text: a grainy photo of a misty view from a window. you can just make out some leafless trees and a far-off block of flats.




NB.

(what I’m reading, when I can summon the attention span:

a little life — hanya yanagihara
revolting prostitutes: the fight for sex workers’ rights  — juno mac & molly smith
underland — robert macfarlane

earthsea cycle — ursula le guin

I’m on GoodReads, if it’s of interest)



© elinor lower