I've chosen poetry for this week's Bloc Feature. I was a little despondent, and this piece was exactly the tonic. I spoke to Rachel Watts about words, life and whimsy.
ANNA: What does poetry allow you to do that other forms might not?
RACHEL: I don't often write poetry but I like to read it. I enjoy the construction of complicated ideas with so few materials. Dabbling with poetry allows me to explore images or concepts without any expectation that it will "go" anywhere in terms of plot or structure. If it does that's great but when I have no expectation the freedom to experiment is exciting.
ANNA: Tell us about your dinosaur - where did the inspiration come from? What is he all about?
RACHEL: I had a significant bout of depression about the time I wrote this. For some reason a coping mechanism I've developed is to indulge in ferocious whimsy. Depression lies. It makes you feel small, isolated and powerless. My tiny dinosaur is so much more than a perfectly formed teacup warrior, if only he could see outside his whimsical little cage. Despite his fierce heart, my tiny dinosaur doesn't have a future. He doesn't have a place in the world anymore. Depression feels like that.
ANNA: What is one thing you can't live without, as a writer?
RACHEL: Curiosity. My google search history is populated with "what if" questions that I feel keep me alive as a writer, maybe even as a person. What if the biggest squid in the world lived in the river in my city? What if the dinosaurs still lived on Jupiter? What if there was a planet in which the dominant species was giant spider crabs? If you don't think that's a fascinating question google giant spider crab images. Check those guys out! Now imagine a few hundred of them sitting down to law making in an alien parliament. Writing fiction gives me a freedom to share a wide eyed wonder that I couldn't live without.
Terrible, Tiny Things
A tiny dinosaur,
Lives its whole life in a tea cup.
China and beautifully painted
on the outside.
The dinosaur roars.
Its heart is huge. It doesn't realise it's tiny.
In the cold walls of its porcelain world,
all it sees is its shadow.
The lyrics of every song it's ever heard
rattle through the dark
like a train heading somewhere
it'll never get to see.
The dinosaur circles,
sinking teeth into prey of shortbread and sugar cubes.
Bitten off more than it can chew.
Tiny eggs all in the same cup.
All month we are featuring stunning pieces from the Writers Bloc workshops. Honestly, it's almost criminal just how good the work being shared there is. You can check it out at http://thewritersbloc.net/read, where you'll be able to add your own stories (and maybe see them featured in Bloc Features), read other stories, and add your own reviews and critiques.
If you would like to recommend a piece for Writers Bloc (from our workshops or from another journal), please email email@example.com.
Anna Spargo-Ryan - Editor
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