I've mentioned I'm working on a small book of poetry, prose and imagery called BESTIARY & I'm going to write a little bit more about it here.
Tomorrow I'll be sending it to press. It'll be delivered to me in loose sheets, just like Being Frank, and I'll hand-bind 50 copies. It's a lot smaller than Being Frank though, so it won't be as time-consuming or difficult to bind.
What's it about, though?
Death, magic, queerness, love, loss
The card Death in the tarot strikes fear into a lot of people, but it's really very simple: without death, there can be no rebirth. There are things in our lives we let go of, that get taken away, and new things come in. Aspects of ourselves transform and behaviours that no longer serve us fall away. The sun rises once more.
I've been fortunate enough to have been in therapy for a year, and Death has very much been the hard but beautiful lesson I've learned. Therapy is hard. I had this idea that you go in there and tell a nice person your problems and they make sympathetic noises and pat you on the head and you go away happy. Ha ha. No.
I've gone through my learned childhood scripts and patterns with a fine-tooth comb. I've examined the rules given to me by my parents and their parents. I've unearthed the utter, utter rage I have had from a very young age and I'm still working with it - rage that infects all my relationships and beliefs and work. I've learned how unhealthy my patterns are in relationships. And all this while engaging in a strange and wondrous on/off relationship with someone who triggers all of these deepest fears and scripts and behaviours perhaps more than anyone I've ever met.
Working with patterns and impulses that aren't healthy is hard work. Changing them is hard work. It's scary. Instead of the certainty of the pattern there's the uncertainty of reality. Uncertainty is terrifying and getting comfortable with it hurts.
I had this idea about these impulses, these transforming and dying scripts and behaviours, as beasts in my semi-conscious mind, and thus BESTIARY was born.
There are thirteen pieces of prose about these beasts: the beasts, like death, and magic, and queerness, reside between the cracks, and they are stubborn and enlightening and beautiful and scary.
The artwork is linocut, and then oil paints, biro, wax crayons, tippex and rubber stamps are worked on top. Also added are children's stickers (for which I have had a long love), and clippings from right-wing newspapers, a 1970s copy of Playboy, Jehovah's Witnesses pamphlets and the Glastonbury Oracle (a free booklet where local alternative therapists, wackoes and charlatans advertise their wares - I love it so much, especially the workshops where they claim you can upgrade your DNA to Angelic Frequencies for £800 etc). The final piece is a 32-page A6 booklet, limited to 50 signed copies, which will be for sale for £17 including UK postage on my website soon - will let you know when it's there (& your patreon discount will of course apply! don't forget to use it - & if you've lost the code message me & I'll resend it to you!)
I'm absolutely delighted with it. The next project is a heavily-illustrated work about queer witchcraft which I'm actually going to try to get properly published. Watch this space :D