The process of creating this video almost mirrored the theme of the poem. I created an ideal in my mind, of myself as a film poet and of what I imagined the final produce might be (much better drawn than this), and nearly threw the whole project in the cupboard because of that ideal.
At some point during the middle of production, when I had scrapped my first ideal of filming the drawing process, and was trying powerpoint (powerpoint!) I nearly gave up. What was happening in reality didn’t match what I had imagined. After a break for lunch and a walk around the garden I went back to the original idea. I managed to talk myself into having lower expectations and finished the project. I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out.
There’s still a chance my filmpoet self will get shoved back into the junk cupboard (he’s been there before), but perhaps less so now I know that it’s usually idealism that shoves things in there. If I can come to terms with how things actually are (the fact that I can’t really draw, for example) I’m much more more likely to keep enjoying this persona, than throw it away.
Into the Junk Cupboard
At the back of the junk cupboard there is an old brand new pair of walking boots. A thin stand of spider web connects the highest eyelet of the left boot to the toe. Next to them there is an unopened can of nicwax. I could draw a line in the dust of its once shiny lid. I wore those boots once, stamping across a moor, leaning into a cold wind, marching towards the sunset, promising myself I would walk every day.
There is a rolled up sticky blue yoga mat, and two plum yoga blocks bought for half price from TX Max. A logo, someone stretched into an impossible asana, is stamped into the side of them. I used to wake up before the sun and put my body into warrior pose, triangle pose, child pose, feeling supple and strong at the same time, and a little smug. One day I stopped. I kept the mat and the yoga blocks in my office for a long time. I didn’t want to put them into the junk cupboard.
Here there is a stack of how to books. How to play the harmonica. I learnt one song and can still remember the taste of the wooden centre and how the suck and blow moved the brass reeds like air wheezing through an old throat. How to fingerpick the Ukulele. I can’t.
Sometimes I feel like I am buying different mes. The me that has all the right walking gear and doesn’t get out of breath when he strolls from the bottom of town up the one in four hill to the top. The me that writes poems and sends them out to the best journals. The me that plays music with other people and that people look forward to hearing.
I set up these ideals like I stack up wooden blocks for my infant nephew to knock down. He pushes them over and I stack them up again. Sometimes it doesn’t take much to topple ideals. A rainy day. A missed alarm. A new distraction. Dreams get replaced by dreams and hope is allowed to live changing form each time something gets shoved to the back of the junk cupboard.
The selves I thought I might be are hanging like winter coats waiting to be tried on again at the first frost. I am always wearing something I suppose. Something that suits me or I think will suit the world. Something to make you like me. Something to make you leave me alone. Something that asks you to do both at the same time. When I get undressed. When I put my old self into the junk cupboard I am already putting the next one on. Skipping over the peace that happens in the moments in between, seduced by the story of who I am going to be.