Many thanks to editor Finn Jackson for asking me to write a feature article for the latest issue of Cake Magazine. When she wrote to me to say that the subject for Cake 7 was the body (human, animal, monster), “how we celebrate it, dissect it, wonder and rage at it”, I was intrigued straight away, but it was really her reminder of the “blood-letting and sacrifice stories” I supposedly used to tell in creative writing workshops (something about a goat?) that hooked me.
Today I received my very own shiny and photogenic copy of Beetroot Bake (pictured). Although I had no edible cake with which to accompany this lovely volume, I settled for a monstrous cup of tea and a quiet corner of the garden near to some spiders. There I read the beautiful and macabre poetry and prose works included, which “deal with the body in various states of disease, decay and damage – some with a medical leaning and others with a mythical spin.” Cake is always a beautifully produced and edited publication and it’s an honour to be included in this one, since many of my former students have been involved in this or previous issues.
My ‘Method’ is about illness and recovery as well as questions of authorship, of the text, or the body…and of socks:
My grandma never threw away socks or stockings. She darned them with a little wooden mushroom held on the inside and any-old-wool for the out. I watched her, fascinated. She was like Victor Frankenstein: mending old socks over and again. They looked more loved, post-darning. Maybe that’s why monster-making has always seemed to me like a kind of love.
But how does it feel to the socks, to be rewritten?
How indeed. I found it a really interesting piece to write that made me think a lot more about texts and bodies and reading and writing and the motivations behind my own work than I normally would. Be warned, though, if you were expecting goats, you may be disappointed.