Anne’s SST9 piece Draft 3 please give feedback on this one

26 Jun

So this is the most recent draft – I’ve quit the idea of being in drag as I think it is distracting me from what I’m really saying here – the idea is that alley and I are in the smoking area outside a club or bar where we’ve seen a drag act (but that is implied in the staging rather than spelled out) – Not completely sure how we will cut Kitty into this but at this stage we think we’ll all be on the stage at the same time.

Feedback on what i’m actually saying here please – is that clear? Also does it all follow on or does it seem disjointed in places? Do I need all of this?

GLIDING

When I was a kid I used to play dressing-up

I was usually an untamed gypsy

in a full skirt pulled over jeans

legs rolled up.

A lot of dancing went on

and arm waving.

We had this big box, well a suitcase

full of old clothes and hats and pieces of fabric.

Once I pulled out a raggedy brown thing,

all screwed up,

my mum said:

This raggedy thing used to be a two-piece suit,

straight skirt, peplum jacket,

a ¾ sleeve with tiny button detail at the cuff.

This shabby paint-water rag used to be red wool/silk mix with a slight boucle.

Sewed from a Butterick pattern when I was 19.

When your grandad saw it, he made me take it off,

said I had to dye it brown.

So I did.

It’s a certain kind of girl wears red, after all. Red is so obvious.

But this raggedy thing is why I keep this box of clothes

for you to play dress-up until you find out who you are.

Maybe obvious is exactly the look I should have gone for all these years.

I mean, I’m an open book in every way but dress.

Why did I suppress myself?

To avoid the stares?

When really it’s stares that fuel me.

What kind of girl does that make me?

Being me, has taken many guises

fitting in and then rebelling turn by turn,

leaving me unsure of which is costume which is casual.

Why has it taken me till now?

Why have I looked to a bunch of tawdry queens to point the way?

Envied their attempts at indulging their alter-egos

and neglected mine?

Watched as they pass for women, better than I ever could.

Once I saw swans flying over the motorway

as huge as gliding jets.

They seemed magnified, and out of scale with us below.

A reminder that nature belongs more than we do,

with our outlandish modes of transportation.

Them flying ‘as the crow’

and us having to follow roads.

I’m sick of following roads

and paths trodden by other people,

in sensible shoes.

Somehow I was plain and brown

and maybe a little bit raggedy too.

I can glide as good as any swan

all grace and power above the surface

hiding all the mechanics down below.

Mind you, white was never really my colour.

And swans mate for life, don’t they?

The less said about that the better.

So do lobsters.

I think I prefer their natural hue,

you know, before they get boiled?

That speckledy blue.

Pink is less becoming for a lobster,

or a woman, let’s be honest.

Pink is for all those prissy girls.

I never wanted to be one of them.

Here’s to my mum and her dressing-up box.

Here’s to all the boys, and girls who’ve been told they can’t go out dressed like that and do it anyway!

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4 Responses to “Anne’s SST9 piece Draft 3 please give feedback on this one”

  1. MouthyPoets June 26, 2015 at 9:13 pm #

    Hey Anne,

    GENERAL THINGS I LOVE
    -‘This shabby paint-water rag used to be red wool/silk mix with a slight boucle.’
    Sewed from a Butterick pattern when I was 19.
    When your grandad saw it, he made me take it off,
    said I had to dye it brown.
    So I did.
    It’s a certain kind of girl wears red, after all. Red is so obvious.
    But this raggedy thing is why I keep this box of clothes
    for you to play dress-up until you find out who you are.

    -‘What kind of girl does that make me?
    Being me, has taken many guises
    fitting in and then rebelling turn by turn,
    leaving me unsure of which is costume which is casual.’

    -‘Somehow I was plain and brown’… love how you come back to this image

    -‘all grace and power above the surface
    hiding all the mechanics down below.
    Mind you, white was never really my colour.’

    -Love the way you flip the swan mating for life cliche with lobsters and this moment we see your mum come back but in your voice which has a really nice cyclical echo. And I like how this leads back into a celebration of your mum in a way and how you have learned a new balanced version of this.

    WHAT I THINK YOU ARE SAYING?

    To me I feel like you are saying you tried to be outlandish and feed a more extroverted, and sexy… but not even sexy, just loud and possible yourself but your mum – who I think maybe represents a certain generation and perception of women didn’t let you… but she didn’t mean to, she was doing what she was told and now you see bits of that mentality in you and you are reflecting on that – you want to go back and reclaim that confidence, the alter-ego but at the same time it doesnt feel angry. It feels like in a way you are reflecting on the differences between you and your mum or her generation – it feels balanced and calm and confident, like you can move on now. For some reason it feels a bit like grief or coming out of grief – like saying, going against what you say doesn’t mean I don;t love you it just means I am working out who I am and you still impact on that but I am comfortable enough in how I love you and know you to do that. Not sure why I feel that way but that feels important, maybe it is something to do with detaching yourself from the version of womanhood your mother gives you and finding your own? For all these reasons I feel the ending is a bit rushed, I feel like I want more of your mum and the dressing up box and I want these memories to feed into your realisation at the end which at the moment feels like it is coming a bit too quick.

    CUTTING SUGGESTIONS
    -What gypsy’s are tame?
    -‘legs rolled up’
    -Not sure about the repetition of the word tragedy?
    -It feels quiet prosaic the whole way through – could you go through and really try and condense your language, I feel there are a lot of areas where you could use 1 words instead of 3 and use your line breaks to do being some of the work too if you know what I mean? But I am aware this is a final edit kind of process but I am really interested in what would happen if you really pushed the music and movement of each of your words and breaks to add to the poem because at the moment if feels like the narrative and imagery is doing all the work. Likewise I feel like your use of stanza breaks could be doing a lot of the work you are currently relying on connectives for – obviously this would then guide your performance. For example replacing the line – ‘Why has it taken me till now?’ with a stanza break. That is, if you decide stanza breaks are denoting different periods in time and perspective – which I personally think would work quiet well for this piece as that feels like the journey in a lot of ways?
    -‘Maybe obvious is exactly the look I should have gone for all these years.
    I mean, I’m an open book in every way but dress.’
    -‘When really it’s stares that fuel me.’
    -‘They seemed magnified, and out of scale with us below.’
    -‘and paths’
    …There is quiet a lot of repetition which may have been deliberate… but I am just saying from my perspective what is being repeated in a weaker way… Do you get what I mean? If it was me I would print it out and cut whatever felt like repetition being really brutal, read it out loud and then see what I miss or read it to someone and see what they miss and then maybe put a few back in because I do see the value in the conversational tone this piece is taking on.

    QUESTIONS
    -Who is alley?
    -Why are the queens tawdry or is that the narrators perspective?
    -I am not sure what has triggered this shift – ‘and maybe a little bit raggedy too. //I can glide as good as any swan’? It is remembering seeing the swan, it seems a bit extreme without much triggering?

    Didn’t mean to write such an essay but hopefully this is helpful!
    Debris x

    Debris x

    • Anne June 26, 2015 at 10:11 pm #

      Really helpful thank you 🙂
      Prosaic? Me???

  2. MouthyPoets June 28, 2015 at 12:00 am #

    love this break down deb def going to use this to aid in adapting helpful suggestion making 🙂 ❤

  3. MouthyPoets July 2, 2015 at 3:38 pm #

    Hi Anne,

    Really liked this.
    This feels a lot closer to you than when I read/heard it before now that the drag element is being taken out. Just not too sure about the last two lines, maybe the way it’s phrased?

    And I think some of the questions could be stated because it seems like you are more certain of yourself as the poem goes on. (If that’s what you want to come across to an audience?)

    I picked these examples:

    ‘Why did I suppress myself?

    To avoid the stares?’

    and

    ‘Why have I looked to a bunch of tawdry queens to point the way?

    Envied their attempts at indulging their alter-egos

    and neglected mine?’

    Maybe you could try and see how the tone could change by taking the question marks out?

    Favourite part:

    ‘Being me, has taken many guises

    fitting in and then rebelling turn by turn,

    leaving me unsure of which is costume which is casual.’

    Afrah x

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