Your Lasagne

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An established poet once told me that art was his way of getting even with the world. A woman who’d dumped him was immortalized by a verse of his that ended with the line: ” I never liked you lasagne, it was always too dry.” The poem is interestingly layered as on one hand it criticizes his ex, on the other, it sends up his own love sickness.

Using art to score a personal goal is a negative approach, nonetheless, it does make me think about why I write. There is something godlike about creating a world where you decide the destinies of each character within. A lot of writers admit to liking this level of control, however imaginary. Bad writers are notorious for having a ‘Mary Sue protagonist’ (an idealized version of themselves) who is set upon by nasty characters who bear resemblance to real people whom the writer dislikes. However, such writing is usually very bad – and more often than not, immature.

It is better, and more interesting (and perhaps more therapeutic) to conjure more rounded characters. You may choose to write about something that happened to you, but try to do so from the point of view (and a sympathetic one) of your nemesis in the situation. You’ll be surprised at what comes up and how your world view may even change as a result. Or, as in the the case of my poet friend’s lasagne poem, turn your story so your art is also gently chiding yourself for your own love-sickness, anger, jealousy, disappointment, greed etc…I feel that art used as a weapon in a personal vendetta will only ever be cheese. Cheesey lasgane, in fact.

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About suehealy

Literary Manager at the Finborough, Sue Healy is a playwright with a track record in stage and radio. Her most recent play, Imaginationship (2018), enjoyed a sold out, extended run at the Finborough and was later selected for a staged-reading at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough. Her previous stage productions include Cow (Etcetera Theatre, 2017) and Brazen (King’s Head Theatre, 2016), funded by Arts Council England. Her short plays have been performed at the Criterion (Criterion New Writing Showcase), Arcola (The Miniaturists) and Hackney Attic (Fizzy Sherbet Shorts by Women). Her radio work includes nine plays broadcast on BBC Radio 4 (Opening Lines winner), WLRfm and KCLR96fm. She has been an interviewed finalist for BBC Scriptroom 12, Eamonn Keane Playwriting Prize, Nick Darke Award and Old Vic 12 New Voices. Her screenplay was shortlisted for the Shorelight Award. Sue’s prose has won The Molly Keane Award, HISSAC Prize, Escalator Award, Meridian Prize and has been published in nine literary journals and anthologies including: The Moth, Flight, Tainted Innocence, New Writer, Duality, HISSAC, New European Writers. She has been writer-in-residence on Inis Oírr, Aran Islands, and at the Heinrich Boll Cottage on Achill Island. She has also benefitted from annual artist residencies at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, and at Ginestrelle, Assisi in Italy. Sue is Irish. She spent eleven years in Budapest, editing Hungary A.M. She has a PhD in modern theatre history (Royal Court Theatre) and is a UEA Creative Writing MA alumna. Sue is currently an Associate Lecturer in Playwriting at the University of Lincoln and the University of Portsmouth. She tutors Creative Writing at City Lit. View all posts by suehealy

2 responses to “Your Lasagne

  • charliecountryboy

    Passion does it for me every time. Sometimes you read something and you can tell that the author is so passionate about the subject, it just rubs off on you. 😉

  • "HE WHO"

    I agree that art used as a weapon can’t have a good ending. I struggled the odd time I was tempted to write adversely about someone I was upset with. I’m glad I didn’t go on with it. And yes, it would have been “cheesy”.

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