I'm increasingly excited about my show Good Presence. It's a work in progress and I'm not yet sure how it will land, but I genuinely think it's the bravest thing I've written (you be the judge - come along!) It also has its surreal moments, as I'm sure the image below demonstrates.
I hope the Last Word Festival won't be its last outing but, as I've said in previous posts, I'm a full-time PhD student, and finishing my thesis will have to take precedence over the next few months. I'm hoping to have a complete first draft of my novel by Autumn and submit the whole thing by the end of the year. I have a long way to go!
In one segment, I recount a disagreement I had with a friend over a Lionel Shriver article about political correctness. When I first started writing the show, it all hinged on this conversation, and how different interpretations of 'fairness' are part of the everyday complex tensions we experience. I'm interested in how subjectivity colours what we do with our beliefs, and how it may even affect our friendships. I wanted to use this moment as a way in, a way of bringing that idea close to home. I expected I'd write the section out eventually, but it's stayed somehow. Seeing Shriver make the news again over the last couple of days has confirmed that it's something to grapple with still.
I disagree strongly with Shriver - as I do with Germaine Greer - on lots of things, and it seems that both characters are pushing the limits of their arguments even further, alienating more people and normalising [what I believe to be] bigoted thought. Both consider political correctness to have 'gone mad', and Shriver's recent outburst strikes me as particularly mean-spirited. The hypothetical 'gay transgender Caribbean' she conjures, who 'powers around town on a mobility scooter' is loaded (so loaded) with connotations that stretch back centuries. At best, it's lazy writing; at worst, well...
Anyway, the invitation is open for her to come and see the show :) I'm fine with provoking debate, if debate is there for the provoking. But the line stops at respect for the other.
& Other Things
Anyway... here's a few other places you can
hear me: catch me on iPlayer for Radio 3's The Verb (I'm about 27mins in but the whole show's good, really) and listen to the podcast for bonus stuff. Also, listen out for my interview with Naomi Woddis on The Two of Us, coming soon to Reel Rebels Radio (there's some really insightful interviews on the MixCloud podcast with other poets, which you might wanna check out too).
see me: Come to my show! And/or come to the British Museum on the 29th
read me: [click on the big yellow link above for signed copies! Or go to the Burning Eye website. Or wait a few weeks for a new tab to appear with most of my publications all handy]