Me Monologue

September 2, 2008

It’s been a while since posting, so here’s one now.

Quite alot’s been happening recently – one of the main things being me applying to do an MA at Nottingham Trent. The MA’s in Creative Writing. I’d rather it were called, ‘Writing’ – or ‘Poetry’, as am not sure that the ‘Creative’ part doesn’t sound a bit evening classy. This is ironic, as the ‘Creative’ as opposed to simple ‘Poetry’, means that (if I’m accepted) I’ll be doing fiction writing aswell, which would be great and very much not night classy. Ah well, if I’m formally accepted I expect I’ll blog much more about it.

I’d been meaning to look into applying since May, but various things got in the way and it slipped my mind until last week. Then it popped back into my head again and I got in touch with one of the tutors on the course. I had, what was, I guess an informal interview last Wednesday – but now I have to get the frigging application in. You’d think that this would be fairly straight forward, but between me losing my exam certificates and generally dithering, I still haven’t technically done it…

One of the things I need to submit with the application is some kind of writing sample. I’m assuming that this doesn’t mean this blog entry. Or my shopping list; as entertaining as it may be at the moment. So, I’ve been putting a little thought into it. Mainly, this means I’ve been trawling poems and trying to find the best cut of them (mine that is, rather than the best of The Rattle Bag, think they might see through that;) … anyway, half because of this, and half because of the fact I appear to have a gig in Norwich next month, I’ve written something new – and a bit different for me.

The piece I’m talking about is the result of a workshop with Francesca Beard I went to last month. In it she suggested writing a kind of ‘me monologue’ as a way of introducing a set. Now, part of me worries about any potential narcissism misinterpretation. This certainly would never be an accusation level-able at Ms Beard, who on every occasion I’ve met/watched her perform has been a paragon of balanced self assuredness, but still, writing in this kind of way runs it’s risks..especially, if as F.B suggest, you consider using your intro-monologue as just that – your first offering to the audience.

It is bearing all of the above in mind, that I post the below. It’s actually now on it’s second draft, and as you’ll hopefully note, is most definitely a piece written with the live audience in mind.

What do you think? Does it work? Or is it one for the chalk of experience?

I finished writing it whilst sitting in Neros over the weekend. Whilst writing, Ola, who works there, and who I know from doing Liveboxes over at The Y Theatre, asked me why the concentrated face. When I explained about the gig , she asked me who was doing the music. Up until that point I hadn’t thought about music, but I guess Ola had only seen me do the Liveboxes – which always feature a live band. Anyway, she gave me a CD of her own bands stuff – Aurelie – and it was REALLY amazing. I ended up finishing the piece whilst listening to them on her walkman.

So…the following may or may not sound crap without the aid of sparkling soundscapes; for what it’s worth though, here it is…let me know what what you think. … (and that has got to be the longest introduction to a performance poetry piece I have ever done;)…

Introductory Monologue for Performance.

My name is Lydia. It was decided on by my father, who was going through a bible bashing phase at the time. He subsequently converted to Judaism, then Buddhism, but by then it was too late.

I feel safe sitting in my mother’s living room, drinking tea that she had made and watching her, watching Coronation Street. My mother is addicted to soap operas. If she goes away on holiday she records them, then watches them back in bed. She can watch up to ten episodes in succession. She is capable of staying up till two or three in the morning doing this.

When I turned 28, I wondered what I’d do when I grew up. I wondered aloud to my mother and she told me that I had better decide soon before it was too late.

Here are three things I know about myself:

1. I have a strong fear of cockroaches.
2. I have excessively flexible fingers.
3. My favourite fruit is the lychee.

Together, these facts might mean that I would be ideally suited to a career in fruit picking – each digit curling limberly and reaching upwards towards the best specimens. Fruit growers – from England to Indonesia – might ask for me specifically – and by name. I would have to change my name as Lydia might not fit with the practical dependability farmers may have come to expect from their pickers. I would also have to wear gloves to protect me from the cockroaches.

Lydia, was once the name of an entire country, known for its two rich kings, Midas and Croesus. Lydia was also a Christian woman who sold purple fabric. There have been many famous Lydia’s, including: Lydia Taft, the first female voter in American history and Lydia Lili’uokalani, the last reigning monarch of Hawaii. Lydia Sigourney was a famous poet. There has never been a famous poet called Lydia Towsey. Lydia means noble in Greek and chaos in Hebrew. I met my first other Lydia 2 years ago. She was nothing like me, but her father had also been a Christian.


None of this tells you anything about me. But this is assuming you that you want to know, which you very well might not.

I wish – I could know something about you. Just something small. Something small and sharp and bright – something that maybe, nobody else in the world would know. Like…How old were you you when you had your first orgasm? Think the answer in your head. Was it good? Did you feel like you were dying until you realised what was really going on? Or was it different for you? What was it like?

Where did you go on your first ever holiday? If you can, picture it in your head. Was there sand? Were there birds circling? Was the sky like a slate or like a clear blue lagoon? Can you remember – or are there only fragments? I can remember my mother’s swimming costume, the way it tied around her neck. It was navy with thin white stripes that ran diagonally. Please, try and think back. What can you see? Can you see it? Can you remember?

What was your first soft toy called? Think the answer. What did you want to be when you grew up? Think the answer. What’s the longest that your hair has ever been? Use your hand, can you indicate the point on your body? Do it now so I can see. Look around you, see how far our hair has reached.

What would you do if you could do anything? Put your hand up if you’d fly. Put your hand up if you’d be able to swim underwater without needing to breath. Put your hand up if you’d be able to solve all the cross word puzzles in the world, just by looking at them. Put your hand up if I haven’t yet said what you’d do. If the answer, would just be – too private.

None of this matters, but all of this matters. The answers to these questions are our answers, your answers, tonight, in this room – and the air is full of them like migrating birds. Can you feel them as you breath in? The weight of them? Of all our silent thoughts? Can you sense your own? Can you draw them back, lay them down, fold them up and into your quiet places, where they’ll be safe again – where they’ll be your own again, but different, because now you’ve let them out, now you’ve let them fly, now you’ve let them breathe, breathe – in, out, in, out, in, out, in….

3 Responses to “Me Monologue”

  1. rick mobbs said

    Take my birds. Send me yours.

  2. Martin said

    Like the “Me Monologue” very much. I think I’d chop out from “Fruit growers – from England to Indonesia…” to “…Lydia means noble in Greek and chaos in Hebrew.” inclusive. I don’t think you need it, and it doesn’t sound with the same immediacy as the rest – it’s a bit encyclopaedia-ish.

  3. Hey both, thanks. Rick, I’m feeling your birds:) Martin, I’m still thinking about it, but that’s really useful to hear, so thankyou

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